Tribunal to rule on Sylva’s application to inspect election materials

Timipre Sylva

Timipre Sylva

Bayelsa State Government Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja will on April 11, deliver ruling in an application filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Timipre Sylva.

Sylva had approached the Tribunal, seeking an order to allow him inspect the election materials used for the December 5, 2015 and January 9, governorship elections held in the state.

Tribunal Chairman, Justice Kazeem Alogba, gave the date yesterday, after taking arguments from parties in the petition, challenging the election and the declaration of current governor Seriake Dickson of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

In the motion on notice filed by the petitioner, Sylva sought an order of the Tribunal to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to allow him inspect election materials used for the polls.

Some of the materials sought to be inspected include the ballot papers used, thumb printed and counted as valid, the ballot papers recorded as spoilt, unused ballot papers, as well as print-out of records of accreditation, as captured by the smart card reader.

Others are the voters’ register in all the polling units and the eight Local Council areas of the state, INEC result sheets, security report on the election, appointed observers’ reports, video and audio reports, as well as letters of complaints of irregularities and malpractices during the election addressed to INEC.

Moving the motion, which hinged on seven grounds, counsel to Sylva, Sebastian Hon, prayed the tribunal to grant the request since the electoral body, which conducted the election, and still in possession of the items did not oppose the application.

Hon said that in law, the facts deposed to in an affidavit and not challenged by way of counter affidavit, are considered as admitted by the respondents by the force of law.

The Counsel argued further that the counter affidavit filed by Governor Dickson through his counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), was misconceived and misplaced, because it did not address the issues raised in the petitioner’s motion.

According to Hon, it was wrong of the Governor Dickson, who was the 2nd Respondent in the suit, to have claimed that the petitioner’s motion was vague “because the documents sought to be inspected by the petitioner are well pleaded in the petition and in line with section 151 of the Electoral Act 2010”.
But in his opposition to the request, Dickson urged the tribunal to refuse the application for lacking in merit.

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