From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State will today open his defence at the state governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja, in the election petition brought against his victory by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of the state, Timipre Sylva.
The governor will lead his 300 witnesses into the box to debunk the allegations by the petitioners that the election that brought him into office for the second term was marred by wide spread violence and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
During the hearing of the petition, Governor Dickson had through his lead counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) challenged the competence of the election petition brought against his victory by former governor of the state and the candidate of the APC, Sylva and urged the tribunal to dismiss it.
Oyetibo, who was joined by counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) submitted that Sylva’s petition did not comply with the condition set out in paragraph 3 (1) to the Electoral Act.
APC and its governorship candidate, Sylva are challenging the election of Dickson of the PDP in the December 2015 and January 2016 governorship polls that were conducted in the state.
The petitioners are challenging the validity of the election over alleged widespread violence and and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
The Governor’s submission came even as a witness to the petitioners (PW1) accused the governor of fueling crisis at Southern Ijaw during the December 6, 2016 election in the state.