Tribunal affirms Dickson’s election as Bayelsa gov

Bayelsa State governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the election of Governor Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the validly elected governor of the state.

In a judgment delivered on Tuesday, the tribunal held that the December 6, 2015 governorship election held in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area on January 9, 2016 was lawful and valid in law.

The tribunal further held that from evidence adduced before it, the election of December 6, 2015 was inconclusive and was rightfully rescheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through the state Resident Electoral Commission (REC).

It further held that contrary to the position of the petitioner, election took place in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.

Accordingly, the tribunal dismissed the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva, for lacking in merit.

It further held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of violence and non-compliance to the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The three-member panel of Justices, led by Justice Kazeem Alogba, held that on allegations of non-voting and snatching of electoral materials by thugs of the PDP, the petitioners failed woefully to substantiate them.

According to the tribunal, “allegations of acts of criminality, violence and snatching of ballot boxes, the onus of prove lies on the shoulders of the petitioners to prove beyond all reasonable doubt.

“It is trite in law that he who assets must prove. The petitioners must adduced by cogent and verifiable evidence beyond reasonable doubt.”

In addition, the tribunal held that some of the petitioners’ witnesses testified against party interest that election took place in all the units in Southern Ijaw on January 9, 2016.

Meanwhile, the APC and its governorship candidate in the state, Timipre Sylva, has vowed to appeal the judgment of the tribunal.

Sylva, who spoke through his lawyer, Felix Okorotie, immediately after the judgment, described the decision of the tribunal as a miscarriage of justice