Bayelsa Poll: How Tribunal Exposed Sylva, Police Commissioner’s Fraud – Diri

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Bayelsa State Governor - Sen Douye Diri

Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said the state’s governorship election petition tribunal, which sat in Abuja, exposed the electoral fraud perpetrated by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 11, 2023 poll in the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, the party’s chairman and a serving Commissioner of Police.

The tribunal on Monday dismissed the APC and Sylva’s petition challenging the declaration of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Governor Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as winner of the election for lacking in merit.

The Bayelsa governor spoke on Tuesday night at the King of Glory Chapel in Government House, Yenagoa, where he stopped for thanksgiving upon his arrival from Abuja.

A crowd of jubilant party members and supporters thronged the state airport and the Government House to welcome the governor.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that during cross-examination at the tribunal, the APC witnesses shot themselves in the foot with frivolous claims and inconsistent exhibits.

The governor narrated how a former Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Tolani Alausa, who was procured as a star witness in the case, tainted his image by tendering false evidence before the court and was humiliated for parading fake INEC documents.

He noted that although Mr Alausa was no longer the CP in the state, the senior police officer presented himself at the tribunal to defend the fraud perpetrated by the APC candidate.

Governor Diri also said the tribunal equally excoriated the party’s chairman in the state, Chief Dennis Otiotio, for his “unprofessional conduct” being a legal practitioner.

He called on the judiciary to place heavy sanctions on frivolous matters and abuse of court processes by those desperate to subvert the wishes of the people.

He said: “During one of the sittings, I physically went to the tribunal and I saw what transpired. Our party’s secretary, in the witness box, stated that most of the election materials the APC presented as INEC’s documents before the court were manufactured by the APC state chairman, Dennis Otiotio.

“To confirm this, our lawyers scanned an INEC form that they (APC) presented and it was established that the form was printed in Yenagoa. The counsel to INEC in his own cross-examination of Otiotio and their party’s witnesses said all INEC result sheets had barcodes but that presented as result sheets by the APC had none.

“We also witnessed how a Commissioner of Police made himself an APC commissioner in the state. This was an officer that had been transferred from the state following an indictment by the IG due to a misdemeanour but he got his way back through the APC candidate’s influence to supervise the election. The same person became the APC star witness in a case he was no longer party to, following his re-deployment out of the state.

“If you look at the veracity of our matter, you will know that it was between light and darkness. Technically, they were even knocked out by the tribunal and their case dismissed. But the panel did not only base their judgement on that. Rather the judges addressed their points one by one. So we are waiting for their appeal.”

Diri described the litigation process by Sylva as a deceptive plot by those who attempted to steal in broad daylight and still crying wolf about a miscarriage of justice by the tribunal.

The Bayelsa helmsman stressed that his mandate to govern the state was given by God and anyone still desperate to subvert the will of God and the people will end up in a wild goose chase.

Present at the thanksgiving service were the wife of the governor, Dr. Gloria Diri, Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abraham Ingobere, chairman of the state PDP Caretaker Committee, Solomon Agwana, Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Nimibofa Ayawei, Chief of Staff, Government House, Dr. Peter Akpe, members of the State Executive Council and other top government functionaries.

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