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APC To Call 224 Witnesses To Counter Bayelsa Governor Diri’s Re-Election

INEC has however disowned the results the APC provided to prove their case.

The All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday, disclosed that it would call at least 224 witnesses to prove its allegations against the re-election of Senator Duoye Diri as Governor of Bayelsa State.

Counsel to the APC, Chief Tunde Falola, and its candidate in the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, made the disclosure while speaking with journalists at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Abuja.

Falola, while expressing hope that the tribunal would be able to take his witnesses within the duration allotted the petitioners to make their case, maintained that it was wrong and unlawful for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to claim that election did not take place in three local government areas in Bayelsa State, at the recent election won by Diri.

INEC had declared Diri as winner of the November 11, 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa State, having won the majority of the votes cast at the election.

The Returning Officer, Professor Faruq Kuta, said the PDP and Diri polled 175,196 votes to defeat his closest rival, Timiprey Sylva of the APC who scored 110,108 votes.

Dissatisfied, Sylva and APC approached the tribunal to challenge the declaration of Diri as winner of the November 11 governorship election.

The petitioners were asking the tribunal to hold that contrary to the position of the electoral umpire, elections were held in some polling units and winners declared at the said units, adding that it was wrong of INEC to disregard the results at the ward and local government level.

It was their claim that if the said cancelled results were restored by the court, they would emerge winner of the November election.

However, at Wednesday’s proceedings, the electoral umpire disowned results tendered by the petitioners in proof of their case.

According to INEC’s lead counsel, Chief Charles Edosanwan, SAN, the results sought to be tendered by the petitioners were not issued by INEC because no election took place at the said polling units.

Edosanwan, while opposing the tendering of the said polling units results, urged the court not to admit them as evidence.

Similarly, Diri, his deputy, Lawrence Ewrujakpo and the PDP represented by Chief Chris Uche, Chukwuma Machukwu-Umeh – all SANs – submitted that the results brought before the court by the petitioners were forged and should not be admitted as evidence.

But the witnesses responding to questions from the respondents maintained that elections took place in their various units peacefully and under the supervision of INEC officials and security agencies.

They claimed that after the election, results were announced and they signed their own copy of the election results issued by the presiding officer.

In proving its allegation that the petitioners’ results were forged, the respondents brought Certified True Copies (CTCs) of the same results showing discrepancies in the scores as well as the numbers of accredited voters.

Another witness, Mallory Afin, who also testified for the petitioners tendered APC results which had the same serial number and number of accredited voters with that of INEC had different numbers of votes recorded for different political parties.

It was discovered that the results tendered by APC in ward 002 were prepared and signed by the same presiding officer for ward 015.

Chuks Okocha, Alex Enumah and Olusegun Samuel

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