Dickson Begins Defence As Inec Closes Case

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, will open his defence today in the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva, challenging his election as governor of the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

This followed the closure of its case by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday before the Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

According to source, the electoral body had told the tribunal that the election that produced Governor Seriake Dickson was free, fair and was held in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act.

Its lead counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), called two witnesses who testified to the credibility of the election.

One Justine Adie, a civil servant who was the Electoral Officer in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, had said that the January 9 election was free, fair and in conformity with the Electoral law.

He told the tribunal under cross-examination by counsel to Governor Dickson, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), that no report of violence was recorded during the election.

But under cross-examination by counsel to the petitioners, Chief Sabastine Hon (SAN), the witness said he did not visit all the 198 polling units in the Local Government Area.

He also admitted that the entries and signatories in the results sheets were not done in his presence.

The commission also tendered various documents from the bar to support its position at the tribunal.

Governor Dickson is expected to call witnesses in the next seven days allotted by the tribunal.

The petitioners were challenging the validity of the election over alleged widespread violence and substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act.