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Governorship Election: Bayelsa tribunal adjourns to May 4

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal for Bayelsa yesterday commenced hearing of the substantive petition filed by the APC and its governorship candidate, Mr Timipre Sylva.
Sylva is challenging the election of Gov. Seriake Dickson on the grounds of irregularities.
At the hearing on Tuesday, the matter could not go on because of wrongful pagination of the Sylva’s petition.
Sylva’s counsel, Mr Sebastine Hon, pleaded with the court for adjournment to reconcile the pagination.
The application which was not opposed by the respondents was granted by the three-member panel of justices, led by Justice Kazeem Alogba.
Alogba told the petitioner’s counsel to make copies of the petition from his (Alogba’s) copy and serve on all parties for uniformity.
The petitioner also urged the tribunal not to consider today as part of the eight days granted the petitioner to prove his petition because of the wrong pagination.
The respondents opposed the application, contending that it was coming too early in the hearing.
Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Adegboyega Awomolo, urged the tribunal not to grant the petitioner’s request because it was premature.
But Counsel to the PDP, Mr Wale Olanipekun (SAN), in his objection, drew the attention of the tribunal to a pre-trial report.
In the report, the tribunal chairman gave the petitioner six days minimum and eight days maximum within which to prove his case.
Olanipekun further said that the tribunal had already taken care of the exigencies that had occurred by asking that the chairman’s copy be photocopied and distributed to parties.
“Your Lordship, by your ruling in the pre-trial report has built up what happened today and thus cannot go beyond the eight days maximum given to the petitioner,’’ Olanipekun said.
In his response, Hon said that the pre-trial report was not final because it could be modified by the tribunal.
Hon argued that none of the respondents had shown that the application was a threat to miscarriage of justice or how they would be affected if the tribunal added a day as they had requested.
In his ruling, Alogba said that the fact that the petitioner called his first witness was indicative that the hearing had commenced.
He, however, added that if in the course of the hearing there was need for an additional day, the tribunal would consider it.
He ruled that the application could not be granted because it was premature and speculative.
The matter was adjourned till May 4. (NAN)

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