The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has held that Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State was validly elected as governor of the state and lawfully declared winner in the last governorship election.
The court in a unanimous decision of a five man panel presided over by Jimi Olukayode Bada resolved all the five issues raised by Sylva and the All Progressives Congress (APC) against the election in favour of Gov. Dickson and the Peoples Democratic Party.
Justice Bada, who delivered the lead judgement held that Chief Timipreiye Sylva, the candidate of the All ProgressivesCongress (APC) and his party failed to prove the allegations of corruption, non compliance, gross violation of the Electoral Act and other malpractices in the conduct of the election.
The judge said the foundation upon which the appellants based their case that the December 6, 2015 election was unilaterally cancelled by the State Resident Electoral Commissioner was baseless and unfounded because of the overwhelming evidence that the poll was cancelled because of irregularities by the stakeholders.
The Appellate Court held that from the available evidence, the December 6 poll was shifted to January 9, 2016 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and political leaders after a stakeholders meeting attended by necessary parties.
Justice Bada said the claim of Sylva and APC that the rescheduled January 9, 2016 election was unlawful, was eroded because both Sylva and APC participated actively in the rescheduled election. Justice Bada further said that the burden of proof that the election of December 6, 2015 was unilaterally cancelled rested on the appellants who will lose their claim if no adequate evidence is not placed before the court. to prove the allegation.
“The contention of the appellants that there was election on December 6, 2015 has no merit. They were expected to lead evidence to prove their claim that there was election on that day.”