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Court of Appeal Upholds Gov.Dickson’s Election

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The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Thursday upheld the election of Seriake Dickson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as governor of Bayelsa.

A former governor of the state, Timipre Sylva, had challenged the decision of the election tribunal that returned Dickson in the Jan.9 poll.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Olukayode Bada led other four justices to decide all the fives issues raised in the appeal against Sylva.

“I have carefully studied the issues raised by the appellant and found them to be frivolous and lacking in substance.

“The appellant had tried very hard to approbate and reprobate. This is not allowed in any of our statues.

“By his sheer participation in the Jan.9 rescheduled election for Southern Ijaw Local Government Area meant that he lost his right to raise any issue on the election of Dec.6, 2015 which was postponed,’’ he held.

Bada also said that The appellant was unable to prove the allegation of non-compliance to the Electoral Act, adding that he failed to discharge the burden of proof sufficiently.

The judge further said that the appellant was wrong to assert that the results from the aborted Southern Ijaw election was cancelled.

“Available evidence shows that no results were collated from the exercise as the poll was proven to have been marred by irregularities and mal-practices.

“The appellant was also wrong when he said he was coasting to victory if all the 120,000 eligible voters in Southern Ijaw were allowed to vote.

“This for us, was a mere wish as the appellant could have been sure of attracting majority of those votes,’’ Bada said.

On whether the Resident Electoral Commissioner was right to have cancelled the election, Bada said the Electoral Act gave the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the power to mandate any of its officers to do so.

“It is indisputable that the appellant and political party contested the rescheduled election on Jan.9. It was this participation that removed the rug from their feet. It had made them bare footed.

“In other words, since the appellant voluntarily participated in the rescheduled election, he cannot now turn around to condemn the exercise in law.

“He cannot be allowed to blow cool and hot at the same time,’’ he said.

The judge also held that: “no matter the enormity of the allegation of non-compliance, the appellant is still very much required to prove it. He has substantially failed to do so’’.

Bada said the appellant also failed to convince the court that the first respondent (Dickson) did not score the majority of lawful votes.

“With the resolution of all these five issues against the appellant and made in favour of Dickson, the appeal is hereby dismissed and parties are to bare their costs,’’ he held.

NAN reports that the court,however, dismissed two cross appeals brought by PDP and the governor, describing them as counterproductive actions.

NAN recalls that on July 26, the Election Tribunal in Bayelsa held that the supplementary election that took place on Jan. 9 was proper and valid.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa had challenged the return of Dickson in the election, saying the entire process was untidy.

The party attributed the victory of the governor to manipulation of results announced by INEC.

The APC also questioned the cancellation of results in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area viewed as their stronghold. (NAN)

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