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Bayelsa Gubernatorial Election Petition Takes a Dramatic Turn as APC and Sylva Demand Tribunal Recusal

In a dramatic twist to the ongoing legal battle over the outcome of the November 11, 2023, gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate, Timipre Sylva, have made a bold move by demanding the recusal of members of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal from hearing their petition against the election of Governor Douye Diri.

The APC and Sylva, in a fresh motion filed on Monday, expressed their lack of confidence in the Tribunal as currently constituted under Justice Adekunle Adeleye. They argued that they could not expect fair treatment or justice from the Tribunal in its current form.

The motion, brought under relevant sections of the Electoral Act 2022 and the 1999 Constitution, emphasized the petitioners’ concerns about receiving a fair hearing and unbiased judgment.

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Should the Tribunal members refuse to recuse themselves, the petitioners have requested that the record of proceedings from February 14, 2024, when the hearings commenced, to February 27, when they concluded their case, be meticulously documented. The APC and Sylva insisted that the record must accurately reflect the evidence presented by witnesses during the proceedings.

The motion for recusal was presented by Onyechi Ikpeazu and Ahmed Raji, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria, on behalf of the petitioners, adding a layer of legal expertise to the already contentious proceedings.

The respondents in the APC and Sylva’s Petition, marked EPT/BY/Gov/04/2023, include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Douye Diri, Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrujakpo, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

During the hearing, representatives of the respondents vehemently opposed the petitioners’ request. Charles Edosomwan, representing INEC, Chris Uche SAN for Governor Douye Diri, Chukwuma Machukwu Ume SAN for Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrujakpo, and Tayo Oyetibo SAN for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), all stood firm against granting the petitioners’ demands.

The legal battle in Bayelsa State has captured the attention of political observers and residents alike, as the stakes remain high and the outcome of the petition could have far-reaching implications for the state’s political landscape.

The demand for the recusal of Tribunal members underscores the intensity of the legal showdown between the APC and Sylva on one side, and the respondents on the other. The intricacies of legal arguments and procedural maneuvers have added a layer of complexity to the already contentious case.

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As the Bayelsa Gubernatorial Election Petition Tribunal grapples with these latest developments, the eyes of the nation are fixed on the unfolding drama in the courtroom. The outcome of this legal battle is poised to shape the future of Bayelsa State’s political trajectory and could set a precedent for electoral disputes in the region.

In a state known for its vibrant political landscape and passionate citizenry, the legal tussle over the gubernatorial election has only heightened the already palpable tension in the air. The quest for justice and the pursuit of truth are at the forefront of this legal battle, as both sides present their arguments with fervor and determination.

The legal luminaries representing the parties involved bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the proceedings, ensuring that every aspect of the case is meticulously examined and debated. The courtroom becomes a battleground of legal minds, each striving to secure a favorable outcome for their clients.

As the drama unfolds in the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, the fate of Governor Douye Diri’s election hangs in the balance. The decision on whether the Tribunal members will recuse themselves or continue to preside over the case will have a significant impact on the trajectory of the legal battle.

In the coming days and weeks, all eyes will be on the Tribunal as it navigates the complex legal terrain of the petition. The outcome of this high-stakes battle will not only shape the future of Bayelsa State but also serve as a testament to the resilience of the country’s legal system in upholding the principles of justice and fairness.

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