• A’Court to decide on Jegede’s suit Nov 10
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja and Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Following the Supreme Court judgment affirming Seriake Dickson’s election victory, the Bayelsa State Government yesterday hailed the ruling and called on the opposition to join hands in developing the state.
The Supreme Court earlier yesterday had unanimously upheld the governor’s victory in the governorship election held on July 26.
The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, in a statement last night in Yenagoa, said the victory was an “affirmation of the divine mandate” given to Dickson, who won on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), by the people of the state.
The government said Mr. Timipre Sylva, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had no case, boasting that “even if the election was conducted a thousand times Dickson and Jonah (the deputy governor) will still emerge winners”.
“We congratulate our amiable governor and his deputy for the sweet victory which did not come to us as a surprise because we knew that with the facts before their Lordships the APC had no case,” the state government said.
“What the APC and its candidate did was to waste their time and that of the judiciary. Chief Timipre Sylva knew he could not have won that case. All attempts to subvert the will of justice was to no avail,” the government said.
It noted that with all the legal hurdles crossed, the government would now be more focused on continuing its mandate of quality service delivery to the people.
Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, security had been tightened around the state yesterday to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
Security operatives were heavily deployed in strategic locations in Yenagoa, the state capital, and other sections of the state.
There was tight security around the government house in the capital and around Onopa, the seat of government. Commuters were also prevented from taking the routes passing through the government house.
Similarly, fully armed security operatives were seen directing motorists to follow the Alamieyeseigha Road to link their destinations, which caused some traffic snarl around the area.
However, notwithstanding the heavy presence of security operatives deployed in strategic locations, Yenagoa remained calm, as residents were seen going about their normal businesses.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had upheld the election of Dickson as the winner of the July 26 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The court in a unanimous judgment dismissed the appeal by Sylva.
With the ruling, the court’s decision has finally laid to rest the controversies that trailed the election.
Also yesterday, the Court of Appeal in Abuja said it would decide on November 10 whether to allow Eyitayo Jegede, the candidate of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP in the Ondo State governorship election, to challenge the judgment of a Federal High Court which declared Jimoh Ibrahim the party’s candidate.
The court will also rule on other preliminary applications filed by other interested parties.
The Justice Ibrahim Salauwa-led panel fixed the date after the counsel to parties had argued their respective applications.
The court will also decide whether it has the jurisdiction to hear all the applications.
In upholding Dickson’s election, a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Tanko Muhammad, unanimoussly dismissed the appeal filed by Sylva and his party on the grounds that it was lacking in merit.
Justice Muhammad, who delivered the summary of the lead judgment, however said that he would give reasons for his decision on November 18.
The Supreme Court delivered the judgment after hearing all the cases filed with respect to the dispute over the governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal had earlier dismissed the petition filed by Sylva.
Not satisfied with the verdict of the tribunal, Sylva appealed to the Court of Appeal in Abuja which also dismissed his case.
Yesterday, Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, a member of the Supreme Court panel on the Bayelsa appeal, also dismissed a cross-appeal filed by Dickson challenging some aspects of the judgment of the Court of Appeal. Other members of the panel also agreed with Justice Kekere-Ekun.
Another lead judgment read by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola also dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the PDP against the appeal filed by Sylva. Other members of the panel agreed with the lead judgment.
The panel members promised to deliver a detailed judgment on November 18.