July 19, 2024

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Anxiety in Sylva’s Camp As Appeal Court Judgment Day Approaches

5 min read

As Bayelsa people wait for the judgement of the court of appeal on the November 11 governorship election result dispute between the APC candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva and the governor, Senator Douye Diri, there is a serious anxiety in the camp of Sylva.

The worry may not be unconnected with the position of the tribunal which expressly declared that in his bid to convince the panel that he defeated the PDP candidate during the election, Sylva and the APC had submitted forged election results to the tribunal.

This is coming even as some critical supporters of the Sylva, including one of his principal publicists before and during the election, has since left the former minister’s camp.

The court of appeal, last week, announced that judgment will be delivered on the matter on a date to be communicated to the parties. At the tribunal, Diri had been confirmed winner of the election, while Sylva and his party was chastised for manufacturing fake results.

Sylva’s action had angered some youth groups in the state who have promised to sue him over the forged election results. Even Diri described him as a man that lacked character and honour, for deciding to forge election results and presenting same to the tribunal in his efforts to secure victory.

In a recent statement by Diri’s chief press secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah on Saturday, Diri said “we have read His Excellency Chief Timipre Sylva’s impassive reaction to His Excellency Governor Douye Diri’s directive to the state Attorney-General to commence legal action against him and others behind the killing of 31-year-old George Sibo on November 12, 2023 in Twon-Brass, headquarters of Brass Local Government Area of the state.

“As usual, his reaction was mindless and lacked any feeling of contrition. Such glaring disdain is consistent with those who place no value on human life. Only their selfish, self-serving interest matters to them.

“It is just as ridiculous that Chief Sylva, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 11, 2023 governorship poll in the state, could turn around to deny and feign ignorance of the dastardly killing of a young man; an act he instigated by his own action.

“If the APC candidate, an interested party in the election, had not invaded the INEC collation centre in Twon-Brass and held hostage officials of the electoral umpire, would George Sibo have been attacked and killed by his supporters and party men?

It would have been better for Chief Sylva to show remorse instead of this vile show of dancing on the grave of the slain Brass youth. It also amounts to sheer prevarication to claim Governor Diri was desperate in an election that was his to win; and which he won convincingly.”

Diri maintained was merely trying to dance on the grace of the slain youth and at the same time stand the truth on its head by his bare-faced denial. He said with his action, it showed that he was a man without character.

Hear him: “Sylva’s feckless effort to stand truth on its head only reinforces the generally-held opinion that he lacks character and honour.

“It is only a man who relishes in untruth and lies that would claim a “stolen mandate” in an election that was adjudged by the National Chairman of his own party as credible and won freely by Governor Diri, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.

“Undoubtedly, there was no “electoral heist” in Bayelsa on November 11, 2023 except only in the warped imagination of Sylva and his dyed-in-the-wool associates. By the affirmation of the Bayelsa electorate and the imprimatur of INEC, Sylva has no mandate to lay claim to. We advise him to pick the pieces of his already saturnine political misadventure and move on.

“Perhaps, the serial governorship contestant has forgotten the criminal indictment of the tribunal hanging over his head like the ‘Sword of Damocles’ for presenting forged electoral documents to the court.

“Let it be clear, however, that Governor Diri has no reason to be afraid of Sylva. But the governor remains his albatross because of his political forthrightness and for his ability to dismantle the violent political culture that the likes of Sylva enthroned in the state.

“Today, elections in Bayelsa are no more a do-or-die affair. November 11 was a referendum on the new political culture and Bayelsans overwhelmingly preferred Governor Diri. They will not go back to Egypt.”

On their part, a Socio-Political and Integrity Group, the Bayelsa Renaissance had threatened to drag Sylva and the APC state chairman, Dr Dennis Otiotio to court.

Aside from this, the group is doing a formal petition against Otiotio to the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA. They want Sylva and Otiotio to be punished for the offence which was made public by the tribunal when it delivered judgement on Sylva’s petition.

Otiotio will be referred to the Legal Practitioner Disciplinary Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) prosecuted based on Section 12 of the Legal Practitioners Act seeking sanctions against him in the alleged infamous professional misconduct and manipulation of judicial processes, bearing false witness during the just concluded Bayelsa Governorship petition tribunal.

Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Adekunle Adeleye, had said that Sylva and Otiotio brought fake polling units results in form EC8A to court under oath, even as he added that Otiotio breached the legal profession’s code of conduct by bringing himself into the case as a witness.

“Is it not ridiculous for a lawyer? Justice Adekeye made it clear that Otiotio’s action is purely professional misconduct. He signed the petition of Chief Sylva as his lawyer, the same Otiotio was listed as one of the counsel and in another breadth, he subjected himself to becoming a witness in same case. This is a man who had equally served as the APC state collation agent. His cups are full”, Mr. Imomotimi Abraham, President of Bayelsa Renaissance stated.

Abraham stated that the action of Sylva and Otiotio constituted electoral malpractice, a situation where no single INEC official came to defend any of the units results presented by Sylva.

“We will follow up this infractions, broad day light robbery that they want to carry out. It is shameful to be presenting fake documents to the courts. We won’t allow this to slide. This is bad behaviour. The tribunal judgment is sound enough to establish handwriting forgery, perjury and clear electoral fraud against Sylva and Otiotio”, he said.

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