Bayelsa Election Tribunal commences hearing of petition amidst tight security

Posted by News Express | 14 May 2015 | 3,936 times

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The Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal led by Justice C.A. Onoeze Madu on Wednesday sat over the petitions filed against the outcome of the April 11 House of Assembly elections won by candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state.

The tribunal sat amidst heavy security presence of armed operatives of the Department of the State Security (DSS) and the Special Operatives of the Nigerian Police Force.

It would be recalled that a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa was attacked by hoodlums in April allegedly led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa when a pre-election litigation was being adjudicated upon.

The Secretary to the Election Petition Tribunal, Adekunle Sunmonu, Esq. justified the heavy security presence as routine and usual during the sitting of the tribunal.

At the sitting of the tribunal held in Yenagoa, ex parte motions moved by aggrieved applicants on substituted services of petitions against four candidates of PDP and APGA were granted.

Justice Madu, while issuing an order of substituted services in the petitions filed by the candidates of the Labour Party in Sagbama constituency 2, Barr. Richard Turner, the United Progressive Party (UPP) in Brass 3 constituency, the Social Democratic Party (PDP) in Nembe 1 constituency, Chief Victor Baribote and the PDP in Kolokuma/Opokuma constituency 2, Joshua Ebikeme Ongore, said the substituted service should be done with petitions pasted on the notice board of the Tribunal and the residence of affected respondents.

The petitioners, according to the affidavit deposed to and submitted before the Tribunal attempted to serve the respondents and declared winner of the State Assembly poll in Sagbama 2, Col. Bernard Kenebai; Kolokuma/Opokuma 2,Ebiye Tarabina (APGA); Brass 3,Hon.Abraham Ngobere; Nembe 1,Ebi Ben Ololo, claimed that attempts to serve them was unsuccessful.

In the ex parte motion filed by Barr. Olu Ojujo, the counsel to the candidate of SDP, Chief Victor Baribote, in the State Assembly election in Nembe Constituency 1, the tribunal upheld three out of the five reliefs sought against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Reliefs two and three as sought by the petitioner for an order directing the INEC to provide the register of accredited voters that voted after the use of card readers and incident forms for verification of voters before voting during the Assembly elections in Nembe.

Justice Ononoeze said: “It is the view of the tribunal that the prayers in two and three are not covered by the Electoral Act.”

The however adjourned the Five petitions for mention on June 9 and 10.


Source: News Express

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