Bayelsa deputy governor wants Sylva’s appeal dismissed

The Bayelsa State Deputy Lawrence Oborawharievwo Ewhrudjakpo has urged Abuja Court of Appeal to strike out the Notice of Appeal filed by All Progressives Congress, (APC) and its governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva against tribunal judgment for being incompetent. The Deputy Governor through his counsel Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN, also prays the appellate court to dismiss the appellant’s substantive appeal for being an abuse of the processes of court proceedings. The appellants had filed two separate appeals against the May 27, 2024 decision of Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal which dismissed Sylva’s petition for lacking in merit. This was after the tribunal found that petitioners were unable to prove their allegation that Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo was not qualified to have contested the November 11, 2023 governorship election along with his principal, Governor Douye Diri. The appellants in the appeals filed on June 4 and 6, 2024 had challenged the tribunal’s decision which dismissed their allegation that the deputy governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, tendered a forged University Degree Certificate and NYSC Exemption Certificate, to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in aid of his qualification to contest the election. They also said that the tribunal erred when it held that their unsubstantiated allegation was a pre-election matter that ought to be litigated before the Federal High Court, that besides being status bar the issue of Ewhrudjakpo’s educational qualification had previously been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction in favour of the deputy governor. In his response, counsel to the Deputy Governor, Ume SAN filed an objection and asked the appellate court to strike out the appeal. He contended that the appellants are erroneously prosecuting two appeals against the decision of the trial tribunal. He said that an appellant cannot lawfully file more than one appeal against the judgment of an Election Petition Tribunal such as the lower court, by the provisions of the Constitution. He said it was needless to severe the appeals into “interlocutory” and “substantive” as done by the appellants in this case and it amounted to an abuse of the processes of the court. According to him, upon the judgment, the rulings on the Interlocutory issues lose their interlocutory nature and character, particularly bearing in mind the fact that the lifespan of the Tribunal has expired, and there would be nothing left to be determined in the unlikely event of a reversal of the Tribunal’s decisions on the several preliminary objections and motions. According to him, Ewhrudjakpo’s application for dismissal of the Petition filed on 24 January 2024 is a purely jurisdictional issue, and therefore it is a final judgement. He is also contending that the appellants’ appeal initiated vide exhibit R3A3 and entered on 14/6/2024, later constituting an abuse of the processes of this Honourable Court, therefore, should be dismissed. The appellants in the suit are Sylva Timipre Marlin and his party, APC, while the 1st to 4th respondents in the appeal are the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Senator Douye Diri, Senator Lawrence Oborawharievwo and PDP respectively. The post Bayelsa deputy governor wants Sylva’s appeal dismissed appeared first on Guardian Nigeria News.

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