Bight Newspaper report has it that the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has dismissed a fresh motion filed by the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its governorship candidate Timipre Sylva, seeking the disqualification of members of the panel from proceeding with their petition challenging the election victory of Governor Douye Diri.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Adekunle Adeleye dismissed the motion after he took arguments from counsel to Sylva, Tunde Falola, Charles Edosanwan for INEC, Chris Uche, SAN, for Governor Diri, Chukwuma Machukwu Ume, for the Deputy Governor and Tayo Oyetibo for Peoples Democratic Party PDP

Justice Adekeye, in a brief ruling, held that a letter from the President of the Court of Appeal on March 5, mandated the tribunal to proceed with the hearing of the petition, irrespective of any application by the parties.

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He said the PCA’s letter has overtaken the request by the petitioners for the disbandment of the tribunal.

Sylva’s lawyer, Falola, had argued that his clients filed the fresh application against the tribunal on the ground that the two petitioners were convinced beyond reasonable doubt that they could not get justice from members of the panel.

The two petitioners further claimed the tribunal had exhibited strange circumstances that made them believe that they would be denied a fair hearing.

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He then asked the tribunal to, in the interest of justice, step aside from the petition and allow other members to be constituted by the PCA to determine their petition within the little time remaining for the expiration of the hearing of the case.

Meanwhile, all the Respondents, through their respective lawyers, opposed the request for the panel members to recuse themselves.

They argued that the application was an attempt to prevent the respondents from presenting their defence against the petition.

They stated that the motion by APC and Sylva was a calculated attempt to blackmail the tribunal members to do their bidding.

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The four respondents claimed that the petitioners closed their case, even when the time allocated to them had not expired, hence, there was no basis for the allegation of denial of fair hearing to them.

Besides, the respondents also stated that APC and Sylva were part of the pre-hearing session and fully subscribed to the schedule of time as agreed upon by all the parties.

The tribunal has fixed March 13 and 14 for INEC, being the 1st respondent, to open and close its defence.


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