From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, told the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja that the poll which produced Governor Seriake Dickson was free, fair and held in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act, 2010.
The electoral body opened its defence in the petition filed against the election by candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Bayelsa, Mr. Timipre Sylva.
The commission’s lead counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) yesterday called two witnesses, who testified to the credibility of the election.
Justine Adie, who was the electoral officer in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state, told the tribunal that the January 9 poll was free, fair and in conformity with the Electoral Act.
Under cross-examination by counsel to Governor Dickson, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and that of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the witness said no report of violence was recorded during the election.
Adie added that the agents of different political parties, including APC, signed the results of the election.
He told the tribunal that before the January 9 election, INEC met with the political parties in the state and other stakeholders and agreed on the date.
However, under cross-examination by counsel to the petitioners, Chief Sabastine Hon (SAN), the witness said he did not visit all the 198 polling units in the local government area.
He also admitted that the entries and signatories in the results sheets were not done in his presence.
‎Also, Mr. Alex Okorie, an electoral officer for Sagbama Local Government Area of the state, testified to the credibility of the election.