From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has affirmed the re-election of Governor Douye Diri, dismissing the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, for lacking merit.

In a unanimous judgment, the tribunal, led by Justice Adekunle Adeleye, ruled that the petitioners failed to provide credible evidence to support their allegations against the election outcome. The tribunal struck down as incompetent the additional proof of evidence and statements on oath submitted by the petitioners, deeming them a “surreptitious attempt to amend the case.”

The tribunal also dismissed the allegation that Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo presented forged certificates to INEC. It held that this was a pre-election matter that should have been challenged in the Federal High Court and was now statute-barred. The tribunal acknowledged Ewhrudjakpo’s legal background, confirming his eligibility to contest the election.

The tribunal further criticized the petitioners’ contradictory prayers, noting that they sought both a declaration of victory and an invalidation of the election. They also failed to provide evidence of irregularities during the election, particularly on a polling unit-by-polling unit basis, as required by law.

Therefore, the tribunal concluded that the petitioners failed to meet the burden of proof and dismissed their petition.

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Key Points:

Petition dismissed: The tribunal dismissed the petition filed by Sylva and the APC for lacking merit.

No credible evidence: The petitioners failed to provide credible evidence to support their allegations.
Additional evidence ruled incompetent: The tribunal deemed the additional proof of evidence and statements on oath submitted by the petitioners as an attempt to amend their case after the filing deadline.

Forgery allegation dismissed: The tribunal dismissed the allegation of forged certificates, ruling it a pre-election matter that was statute-barred.

Contradictory prayers: The petitioners’ contradictory prayers for both victory and invalidation of the election were criticized by the tribunal.

Lack of evidence of irregularities: The petitioners failed to provide evidence of irregularities during the election, specifically on a polling unit-by-polling unit basis.


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