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Bayelsa guber: Appeal court reserves judgment

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reserved judgment in the gubernatorial appeals brought before it by the All Progressives Party (APC) and it’s governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva.

The action was against the backdrop of the recent judgment of the Bayelsa State governorship election tribunal.

The Tribunal in its judgment delivered May 17, 2024, in Abuja, upheld the election victory and return of Governor Douye Diri and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Oborwahariewo.

The tribunal’s three man-panel led by Justice Adekunle Adeleye, dismissed Sylva and APC’s petition for lacking in merit.

The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove any credible evidence to back up any of the allegations they raised against the re-election victory of Diri.

The tribunal declared that the prayers of the petitioners were contradictory.

The Justices unanimously held that Sylva and APC did not tender any electoral material to show any irregularity occurred during the election as claimed.

Dissatisfied, Sylvia approached the tribunal, asking for the setting aside of the judgment.

At Tuesday’s sitting, after parties in the suit adopted their written addresses, the three-man panel of the appeal court led by Justice James Abundaga, reserved judgment in the appeals.

Counsel to the respondents in the suit, in their arguments, Asked the court to dismiss the appellant’s suit while the appellant’s counsel asked the court to dismiss their arguments.

Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN) led the appellant’s legal team, Charles Uwensuyi-Edosomwan (SAN) appeared for the Independent National Electoral Commission, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) led Governor Diri’s legal team, A former Attorney General of Imo State, Chukwuma Machukwu (SAN) appeared for the deputy governor while Tayo Eyitayo (SAN) appeared for the Peoples Democratic Party.

Oborwahariewo’s counsel, in his argument, asked the appeal court to resolve all the three issues mentioned in the appeal in their favour.

He urged the court to hold that the appeal lacked merit and same should be dismissed.

He claimed that the appellants woefully failed to prove their case of unlawful exclusion or non-collation of the said results of the election from the 184 polling units in Nembe, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas.

He said in similar circumstances of the case, the tribunal was right for not relying on the evidence adduced by the appellant’s witnesses.

He said “the finding of the lower court with respect to the credibility of the evidence of the Pw52 (Dr Dennis Otiotio) was right and not perverse.

“That the appellants, having voluntarily participated in the process of reading the bar code on the said polling unit result sheets, can no longer complain about the process and the result of the said process.”

He said the appellants woefully failed to discharge the burden of proof that lawful votes due them, were excluded and not collated accordingly which would have come out in their favour.

Chief Uche said, “I urge my Lords to dismiss the appeal for grossly lacking in merit. I have looked at the appellant’s brief, it is rather invalid. Election matters are suis generis and i pray the suit be dismissed”.

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