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Bayelsa Election Tribunal: Group Accuses Sylva of Shopping for ‘Black Market Judgment’

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – As the Bayelsa State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja prepares to deliver judgement on the petition of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Candidate in the last election, Chief Timipre Sylva against Governor Seriake Dickson, a human rights advocacy group has raised fresh alarm that Sylva was  lobbying in high places to secure black market judgement.

In a terse press statement circulated to the media on Monday in Abuja, a group known as Good Governance Initiative, claimed that Sylva was  lobbying the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,  Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN), Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir David Lawal and other key officials of the Federal Government to ‘‘mount pressure on the tribunal to declare him governor of an election he didn’t win.’’

The game plan, the group alleged was to force the tribunal to pronounce Sylva Governor, instruct INEC to issue him Certificate of Return, order the Bayelsa State Chief Judge to swear him in with immediate alacrity and frustrate Governor Seriake Dickson from appealing the verdict the way it is currently playing out in Abia State.

The statement which was signed by the group’s president, Dr. Ephraim Princewill, noted that the AGF and SGF had already swung to action, thereby giving Sylva and his camp cause to celebrate over the weekend in Bayelsa and Abuja.  According to Dr. Princewill, Sylva’s core supporters have already started sewing uniforms for the celebration of the APC victory at the tribunal.

‘‘Already we heard on good authority that both SGF and the AGF have reached out to the justices and they have also assured Sylva of victory at the tribunal. It was this assurance that erupted a tumultuous jubilation in the APC camp in Abuja and Yenagoa…Sylva’s core loyalists have already sewed gorgeous uniforms (ashebi) to celebrate the anticipated victory. Many of them partied over the weekend and popped Champaign in Night clubs. Those who were not at the clubs, were seen drinking to stupor at bear parlours in the streets of Yenagoa…’’ the statement added.

Babachir Lawal, the group stressed is Sylva’s long standing friend and was believed to have deployed “federal government institutions” to support him during the election while Malami was Sylva’s lawyer before his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The story of Sylva’s manipulation of the tribunal is all over Yenagoa and Abuja and this has created palpable tension in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

But when contacted, the spokesman of the governor, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, condemned the move to oust his boss from office through a kangaroo judgement, he assured that the justices at the tribunal were men of integrity. While expressing confidence in the impartiality of the tribunal, Iworiso-Markson noted that Sylva’s shopping for “jankara” judgement will hit the brick wall. He also called on Sylva and his party to stop desecrating the judiciary.

‘‘Our faith in the judiciary is unshaken. The whole world can attest to the fact that Governor Dickson won the election fair and square. The APC was roundly defeated in that election in the full glare of the world. So it is not the election that is on trial; rather it is the judiciary that is on trial. We believe strongly that justice will be done. Our electoral victory will be upheld by the tribunal,” Iworiso Markson noted.



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