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The Second Battle Between Silva And Dickson At The Appeal Court
....Panel Said Tribunal Didn’t Ere In Law

By Enideneze Etete

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, affirmed that the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal did not err in law or jurisprudence, to have affirmed the election of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson.

This was the position taken by the five-man panel of justices, led by Justice Jimmi Olukayode Bada of the Appeal Court in Abuja which upheld Governor Dickson’s election.

In the jugdement delivered September 22, the lead Justice, Justice Bada, the Appeal Court stated that the Tribunal premised its decision on the strength of proofs and defenses by the Governor, Peoples Democratic Party and the INEC that elections validly held in the disputed areas and the dates they so held, and Dickson won.

Justice Bada stressed as previously held by the Tribunal, that the petitioners, Chief Timipre Silva and the All Progresives Congress (APC), did not advance valid evidences to invalidate the election of the governor, stating that the burden of proof was on them to do so but they failed.

Chief Silva and the APC had gone to the Court of Appeal to seek justice on five grounds, culled from the judgement of the Tribunal, which they felt dissatisfied.

The appellants reiterated their claim that the December 6, 2015 election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area (Silga) which has the highest number of voters in the state was wrongly cancelled by the INEC. They also alleged gross irregularities and violation of the Electoral Act in the elections in most places and unlawful allocation of votes to Governor Dickson.

But the Appeal Court panel led by Justice Bada did not see genuine proofs of the appellants’ claims in the records brought before it from the proceedings of the Tribunal that had earlier decided the matter in favour of the respondents.

Justice Bada who ratified the decision of the Tribunal, which he said premised its verdict on the evidences that were on ground, described the allegations by the appellants as lacking merit.

In what is akin to eating cake and having it back, Justice Bada ruled that Chief Silva, haven participated in the rescheduled election in Silga, on January 9, 2016, had “eroded” the major ground of his case wherein he asserted INEC wrongly cancelled the election in the area in December 6, 2015, and cannot seek relief for same.

He stated that the respondents were able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the said election was cancelled by the INEC, and rescheduled on the date which the respondents validly participated.

“They were expected to leave evidence to prove their claim that the election was marred by irregularities, electoral malpractices, allocation of votes and gross violation of electoral act”, Justice Bada explained.

“These allegations were not proved by the appellants”, the presiding Justice, added.

“I am in total agreement with the decision of the lower Tribunal because its decision was based on the evidence placed before it.” He concluded.

All the five grounds of appeal filed by the respondents were therefore, dismissed for lack of merit, and the election of governor Dickson was upheld as declared by the INEC.


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