Bayelsa guber: Court dismisses Sylva’s petition seeking to disband tribunal

Timipre Sylva, former minister of petroleum resources Timipre Sylva, former minister of petroleum resources

Monica Dongban-Mensem, president of the court of appeal, has thrown out a petition filed by Timipre Sylva, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in last year’s governorship election in Bayelsa.

Sylva had written a petition to the appellate court president requesting the disbandment of Bayelsa’s governorship election petition tribunal over allegations of bias.

Sylva and the APC said they no longer have confidence in the ability of the three-member panel led by Adekunle Adeleye to deliver justice in the electoral dispute.

The petitioners said they were only allowed to call 49 witnesses out of the 224 they had proposed to bring to the tribunal.


Sylva and his party also alleged that they were denied a fair hearing, noting that the tribunal was distorting its record of the proceedings to favour the respondents.

The petitioners asked the appeal court president to urgently disband the tribunal and reconstitute a new one early enough so that the petition could be heard before the 180 days allowed for electoral disputes elapse on May 28.

On Monday, the tribunal adjourned the proceeding indefinitely pending the decision of the president of the court of appeal.


However, a hearing notice dated March 6, indicated that the petition failed while the tribunal had been directed to continue the matter under the same leadership.

“Take notice that the above election petition will be heard on the 11th day of March 2024 and on such other days as the court of appeal may determine,” the notice reads.

On November 13, 2023, Duoye Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner of the off-cycle election held in Bayelsa after he scored 175,196 votes to defeat Sylva and other candidates.

Sylva, a former minister of state for petroleum resources, polled 110,108 votes.


Diri was reelected for his second term in office.

However, not satisfied with the outcome of the election, Sylva and his party filed a petition before the tribunal alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wrongly excluded election results from three LGAs –Southern Ijaw, Ogbia and Nembe.

Sylva submitted that contrary to INEC’s position that the election did not hold in the affected LGAs, APC agents supervised the poll and sent results from the various polling units to the collation centre.

He described the three LGAs as his strongholds, arguing that results from the areas would have given him victory in the election if they were added.

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