Hearing of the substantive petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Chief Timipreye Sylva challenging the election of Governor Seriake Dickson, begins today at the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja.
The petition which was scheduled to be heard on Tuesday could not be taken due to discrepancies in the numbering of the petition. At the resumed hearing, counsel to the petitioner Sebastine Hon prayed the court for adjournment to enable him number the pages rightly.
The application, which was not opposed by the respondents, was granted by the three member panel of tribunal, headed by Kazeem Alogba.
The tribunal chairman, however, added that the petitioner counsel should make photocopies of the petition issued to him and serve justices of the panel and then the respondent for uniformity.
Sabastine Hon pleaded the tribunal not to count yesterday as part of the eight days granted the petitioners to prove his petition.
But the respondents objected the application on the ground that the application was premature.
Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, representing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), urged the tribunal not to accede to the request of the petitioner on the ground that the request was premature.
Wole Olanipekun in his objection drew the attention of the tribunal to a pre-trial report where in, the tribunal chairman gave the petitioner six to eight days within which to prove his case.
Olanipekun submitted further that the tribunal had already taken care of the exigencies that happened on Tuesday.
According to him, “your lordship by your ruling on the pretrial report has build-up, what happen today and thus cannot go beyond the eight days maximum given to the petitioner.”
Responding on point of law, Sabastine Hon said that a pretrial report is not final as it can be modify by the tribunal.
He said none of the respondent has been able to show any miscarriage of justice or how they will be affected if the tribunal added a day as requested.
In a short ruling, the tribunal held that the application cannot be granted because is pre-matured and speculated.
He said that by mere fact of calling the witness alone, hearing has automatically started.