Bayelsa Guber: Sylva challenges tribunal verdict, heads to appeal court

Timipre Sylva, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, has taken his case to the Appeal Court to challenge the verdict of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, which upheld the victory of Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a bid to contest Diri’s victory, Sylva, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, approached the tribunal, seeking to overturn the election result. However, the tribunal recently upheld Diri’s win, prompting Sylva to pursue further legal recourse.

Describing the tribunal’s decision as a “miscarriage of justice,” Sylva expressed his unwavering confidence in the Nigerian judicial system while announcing his intention to seek redress at the appellate level.

“No quantum of miscarriage of justice will make me lose confidence in the Nigerian judicial system. It’s all we have. Some of the finest Nigerians I know are in our judiciary,” Sylva asserted in a brief statement.

“Thankfully we can still seek redress in the Appellate Courts.”

The three-man panel led by Justice Adekunle Adeleye unanimously dismissed Sylva’s petition, citing a lack of credible evidence to substantiate the allegations raised against the outcome of the Bayelsa state governorship poll.

The tribunal emphasized that the law mandates election petitions to be filed within 21 days after the declaration of election results and requires them to be accompanied by written statements from all intended witnesses.

Furthermore, the tribunal deemed Sylva’s attempt to file additional proof of evidence and statements on oath from witnesses after the initial petition filing as an illegitimate amendment to the case, thereby rendering them incompetent.

Despite the setback at the tribunal, Sylva remains resolute in his pursuit of justice, underscoring the importance of upholding electoral integrity and adherence to legal procedures in resolving electoral disputes.

As the legal battle unfolds in the appellate court, the outcome will not only determine the fate of the Bayelsa gubernatorial election but also serve as a litmus test for the efficacy of the Nigerian judicial system in safeguarding electoral democracy.

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