Court of Appeal Dismisses APC’s Interlocutory Appeal in Bayelsa Governorship Dispute


ABUJA–The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed an interlocutory appeal brought before it by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva.

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In a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice H.A Barka, the appellate court ordered the APC candidate to pay a N400,000 fine for filing the appeal, which it described as time-wasting.

The court directed that the cumulative cost be paid in favor of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Douye Diri, and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, all listed as respondents in the matter.

Sylva and his party had approached the appellate court, seeking to compel the Chairman and members of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to recuse themselves from his petition to nullify Governor Diri’s election.

The Appellants had earlier written to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, demanding the disbandment of the tribunal, alleging bias. They filed the appeal after their petition was dismissed.

In the interlocutory appeal marked: CA/ABJ/EP/GOV/BY/09/2024, they challenged the tribunal’s refusal to recuse itself from Sylva’s petition against the election outcome.

However, when the appeal was called on Tuesday, Sylva and his party informed the court that they were no longer interested in pursuing it, revealing that they had already filed a notice of discontinuance.

In a brief ruling, the appellate court dismissed the appeal and ordered the Appellants to pay costs, noting that the Respondents had already filed processes and joined issues with them on the matter.

Justices A.B Mohammed and P. Obiorah, who were part of the appellate court panel, concurred with the ruling.

INEC had declared Governor Diri of the PDP as the winner of the election with 175,196 votes, defeating his closest rival, Sylva of the APC, who polled 110,108 votes.

However, dissatisfied with the outcome, Sylva approached the tribunal, alleging that results in three Local Government Areas were wrongly excluded by INEC. He argued that if the results from his strongholds were included, he would have won the gubernatorial contest.

The tribunal has concluded hearing on the petition and reserved its judgment.

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