Bayelsa Guber Election: APC, INEC Clash At Tribunal Over Conflicting Documents


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, clashed at the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal in Abuja over figure of election results of the November 11, 2023 Governorship poll.

This followed the conflicting election results tendered by both the INEC being the electoral umpire and APC that participated in the election.

While INEC tendered its certified true copies of its results, the APC polling unit agents tendered completely different results that were at variance with those of the Electoral body in respect of the wards its agents represented the party.

Even though the two conflicting results were objected to by the two parties, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Adekunle Adeleye, however admitted them as exhibits for the consideration of the Tribunal during the hearing of the petition.

Former minister of State for Petroleum Resources in the former President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, Timipre Sylva and his party, the APC dragged INEC, Governor Douye Diri, his deputy, Lawrence Ewhirujakpo and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before the tribunal.

The petitioners are praying the tribunal to hold that election took place in three Local Government Areas where INEC claimed were not conducted due to alleged diversion of election materials and disruptions of election process on grounds of bypass of the BVAS machine.

The affected three Local Government Areas included the Southern Ijaw, Ogbia and Nembe.

At the commencement of the hearing of the petition, an APC polling agent, Odungele Moses, adopted his statement on oath which he deposed to on December 1, 2023.

Led in evidence by counsel to the petitioners, Tunde Falola, the witness insisted that the election took place in his polling unit 15 ward 4 and tendered a result which he claimed was issued to him by the INEC presiding officer.

However during cross examination by Chief Chris Uche, SAN, counsel to Governor Diri, the witness admitted that although 16 political parties participated in the governorship election, only the APC which he represented as an agent signed the result sheet he tendered but, did not give reasons why the other 15 did not sign.

Another witness, Mallory Afin, who testified for the petitioners tendered APC results which had same serial number and number of accredited voters with that of INEC but however had different number of votes that were recorded for the different political parties.

During cross examination by counsel to Governor Diri, it was discovered that the results tendered by APC in ward 002 was prepared and signed by the same presiding officer for ward 015.

The witnesses were also cross examined by Charles Edosonwon, SAN, who represented INEC, Chukwuma Machukwu-Umeh, SAN, for the Deputy Governor and Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, for the PDP.

The witnesses denied the allegations of parading fake election results but, admitted that only INEC has statutory powers to conduct elections and to possess superior documents.

In the meantime, the chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Adekunle Adeleye adjourned further hearing till February 15, 2024.

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