Appeal Court upholds election of Dickson as Bayelsa Governor, dismisses APC’s suit

Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa State Governor
Seriake Dickson, Bayelsa State Governor

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed an application filled by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Timipre Sylva, challenging the election of Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.

Mr. Sylva had approached the court to challenge the ruling of the Bayelsa State election tribunal which upheld the election of Mr. Dickson.

Mr. Sylva through his counsel, Dieworio Wuku, told the court that the Bayelsa State Resident Electoral Commissioner had cancelled the election on December 6, 2015. He added that the supplementary election held was illegal.

A five-member panel of justices led by Jimi Bada, however, said the claim by Mr. Sylva and his party, the All Progressives Congress, that the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Bayelsa cancelled the election held on December 6 2015 was invalid.

The court resolved five issues raised by Mr. Sylva and his party in favour of Mr. Dickson and his party, PDP.

The court decided that Mr. Sylva and his part, APC, failed to prove the allegations of corruption, non compliance, gross violation of the electoral act and other malpractices, as alleged regarding the election.

The appellate court said the ground upon which the appellants based their case that the December 6, 2015 election was cancelled did not hold water because they participated actively in the rescheduled election on January 9, 2016.

The court also said the decision to postpone the December 6, 2015 election to January 9, 2016 was taken by INEC and stakeholders.

The court held that the burden of proof rest on the appellants.

“The contention of the appellant has no merit. They were expected to provide evidence to prove their claim that the election was marred by irregularities, electoral malpractices, allocation of votes and gross violation of electoral act. These allegations were not proved by the appellants.

“I am in total agreement with the judgement of the lower Tribunal because its decision was based on the evidence placed before it,” Mr. Bada said.

The court, therefore, dismissed the applications and held that the election of Mr. Dickson was valid.

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