APC, Sylva, Faults Tribunal Decision on Bayelsa Guber Election

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate, Timipre Sylva, have expressed dissatisfaction with the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, accusing it of bias in its proceedings, findings, and decisions.

They demanded the immediate dissolution and reconstitution of the tribunal, alleging a denial of their constitutional right to fair hearing.

In a petition dated March 4, 2024, the APC and her gubernatorial candidate claimed they had lined up 234 witnesses to support their petition against the declaration of Senator Douye Diri as the winner of the gubernatorial election. They alleged that the tribunal imposed a tight timeline, requiring all witnesses to be called within seven days, and limited them to calling only eight witnesses per day, despite their agreement to call 25 witnesses daily.

Feeling overwhelmed by these constraints, the APC and Sylva closed their case on February 27 after calling only 49 out of their 234 witnesses.

They argued that this action by the tribunal breached their right to fair hearing, especially considering the tribunal still had three months remaining to sit.

The petitioners further accused the tribunal of distorting the oral testimony of their witnesses and making incorrect findings regarding the authenticity and weight of the election results they presented.
They however demanded the dissolution of the tribunal and the formation of a new one to ensure unbiased proceedings.

Furthermore, the APC and Sylva requested an indefinite adjournment of the proceedings until the Court of Appeal President makes a decision on their petition.

During the resumed hearing, Justice Adekunle Adeleye, the tribunal chairman, acknowledged a petition questioning the tribunal members’ neutrality and integrity, and agreed to adjourn the matter indefinitely pending the Court of Appeal President’s decision.

Various counsels representing different parties in the case expressed differing views on the allegations of bias and distortion of facts.

Ultimately, the tribunal granted the requested adjournment, ruling to suspend proceedings until the Court of Appeal makes a decision regarding the allegations raised by the petitioners.