The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, upheld the election of Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.
In a unanimous judgement the five-man panel of Justices, led by Justice Rotimi Olukayode Bada dismissed the joint appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate in the state, Mr. Timipre Sylva.
The court said the appeal lacked merit and therefore upheld the July 26 verdict of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
The appellants had prayed the appeal court to renounce the decision of the tribunal, sack Dickson and order fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State.
They argued that Section 26(1) of the Electoral Act made no provision for “cancellation” of election, but “postponement” of election.
According to the appellants, “The phrase ‘other emergencies’ under section 26(1) of the Electoral Act is limited to the action of INEC ‘postponing’ an election and not ‘cancelling’ one that had already taken place”.
They also argued that no election held in Southern Ijaw LGA.
A three-man panel tribunal led by Justice Kazeem Alogba, had held that the petitioners failed to provide credible evidence to back up their claims.
According to Justice Alogba, “The petitioners failed to prove that the second respondent (Dickson) did not score the highest lawful votes.
“Therefore the return of the second respondent by the Independent National Electoral Commission on January 10, 2016 was valid.”
While upholding the decision of the tribunal, the appellate court said, “Where a party seeks declarative reliefs, the burden is on him to win on the strength of his own case and not on the weakness of the defence”.
The court said the appellants failed to prove that there was substantial none compliance to section 139(1) of the Electoral Act in conduct of the Bayelsa State governorship poll.
BREAKING: Appeal court upholds Seriake Dickson’s election
Reviewed by Link Naija