Bayelsa Gov Poll: Appeal Court fines APC candidate, Sylva N.4m - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Bayelsa Gov Poll: Appeal Court fines APC candidate, Sylva N.4m

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed an interlocutory appeal that was brought before it by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice H.A Barka, further ordered the APC candidate to pay N400, 000 fine for filing the appeal it described as time wasting.

It held that the cumulative cost should be paid in favour of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Governor Douye Diri and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who were all listed as respondents in the matter.

Sylva and his party had approached the appellate court, praying it to compel the Chairman and members of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to recuse themselves from the petition he filed to nullify the election of governor Diri.

The Appellants, who had earlier written a letter to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, demanding the disbandment of the tribunal on the ground that the panel was biased, filed the appeal after the petition was dismissed.

In the interlocutory appeal marked: CA/ABJ/EP/GOV/BY/09/2024, he challenged the refusal of the Justice Adekunle Adeleye-led tribunal to hands off his petition against the outcome of the governorship poll.

However, when the appeal was called on Tuesday, both Sylva and his party informed the court that they were no longer interested in the appeal.

The Appellants disclosed that they had already filed a notice of discontinuance.

In a brief ruling, the appellate court, while dismissing the appeal, ordered the Appellants to pay a cost, noting that the Respondents have already filed processes and joined issues with them on the matter. 

Other members of the panel of the appellate court that concurred with the ruling, were Justices A.B Mohammed and P. Obiorah.

It will be recalled that INEC had declared that governor Diri of the PDP garnered a total of 175, 196 votes to defeat his closest rival, Sylva of the APC who polled 110, 108 votes.

However, dissatisfied with the outcome of the election, Sylva, who served as governor of the state from 2008 to 2012, and the immediate past Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, approached the tribunal, alleging that results of the election in three Local Government Areas, LGAs, were wrongly excluded by INEC.

He told the tribunal that whereas election held in Southern Ijaw, Ogbia and Nembe LGAs, however, the electoral body voided polling unit results that were forwarded for collation.

Sylva insisted that contrary to INEC's position that election did not hold in the affected LGAs, its officials supervised the election and sent results from the various polling units to the collation center.

According to him, had it been that results from the three LGAs, which he described as his strongholds, were included, he would have won the gubernatorial contest.

The panel has concluded hearing on the petition and reserved its judgement.

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