APC did not participate in Jan. 9 Bayelsa governorship election – Witnesses

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Abuja  – The Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Friday heard the testimonies of five witnesses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Jan. 9, 2016 case.

The witnesses, in their separate testimonies, said APC did not participate in the Jan. 9, 2016 governorship election in Bayelsa and maintained that there was no violence in the various polling units during the election held on Dec. 5, 2015.

The witnesses gave the testimonies during cross examination by counsel in a petition filed by Timipreye Silva, the former governor of the state.

In the petition, Silva is praying the tribunal to declare him winner of the Bayelsa governorship election based on the result of Dec. 5, 2015 election, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared as inconclusive.

The result sheet `Form EC8A’ of the various polling units were tendered through the witnesses which the counsels objected to.

It will be recalled that INEC declared the election inconclusive when it saw that the Dec. 5, 2015 election was characterised by
all forms of intimidation and violence by the people of the state.

Mr Gini Erafaghe, a polling unit agent in the Southern Ijaw area said APC did not participate in the election held on Jan. 9, neither did he go to the polling unit on the same date.

He said “I was a polling unit agent in the election held on Dec. 5, 2015 but I was not the agent for the election held on Jan. 9, 2016. I did not even go to the polling unit in the election held on Jan. 9.

“There was also no violence at my unit during the Dec. 5, 2015 election.

Another APC witness, Mr Mick Kokorifa, also from a local government in the Southern Ijaw told the tribunal that APC did not participate in the Jan. 9 election.

Kokorifa informed the tribunal that he did not follow the returning officer to the ward collation centre for compilation of the result of each polling units.

He also told the tribunal that he did not know the location of the ward collation centre, neither was he aware of what happened at the centre.

He added that “election materials to my polling unit were transported through the waterways, so, I wouldn’t know what happened at the waterside on Dec. 5 because I was at my polling unit.

“I am a registered voter but I don’t have anything to show for that now, I am not here with my voter card,’’ Kokorifa said.

Also, Mr John Deala, the APC agent at polling unit 10 in Ward 12 of Southern Ijaw Local Government said he left the polling unit where he was assigned to work to vote at the polling unit where he registered.

When the witness was told that the signature he signed on the result sheet and handed over to the ward collation agent was different to that of his witness statement on oath, he admitted that he has more than one signature.

He said that the APC did not participate in the Jan. 9 election and that violence only occurred the day before the Dec. 5 election.

Another agent from Okoroma Local Government of the Southern Ijaw Area, Mr Jacob Sanugba, also confirmed to the tribunal that he did not monitor the distribution of the election materials.

He declared that he wouldn’t know what happened at all the polling units.

“I did not monitor the distribution of the election materials but I performed my duty as assigned to me.

“I know that 20 political parties were listed on the ballot paper but only six political parties participated in the 2015 Bayelsa governorship election.

“I was in my community particularly my compound on Jan. 9, 2016; I did not participate in the Jan. 9 election neither did my party participated in the election,’’ Sanugba said.

Also, Mr Ebisintei Solomon, another APC polling unit agent in the Southern Ijaw area told the tribunal that the distribution of the election materials was done in the presence of security agents and party agents.

He said that although he did not witness the collation of results at the ward collation centre, there was no violence at his polling unit during the Dec. 5, 2015 election in the state.

NAN reports that at the tribunal were the APC Counsel, Mr Serbastine Hon (SAN), Mr Abibo Granville (SAN) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Emeka Etieba (SAN) for Gov. Seriake Dickson, and Mr Onyechi Ipeazu (SAN) for INEC. (NAN)

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