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My Victory Will Propel Me To Serve Bayelsa Better, Says Gov Diri

Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri,

Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has dedicated his victory at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to people of the state, saying it will spur him to serve the state better in his second term.

The tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Monday, affirmed the re-election of Governor Diri in the November 11, 2023 election in the state and dismissed the petition filed by Chief Timipre Sylva and the All Progressives Congress (APC) on grounds of lacking merit.

Speaking with journalists shortly after the judgement was delivered by the Justice Adekunle Adeleye-led three-member tribunal, Governor Diri said the petition was a “needless distraction.”

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, the governor noted that by the judgement, the judiciary has again proven that it remained the last hope for the common man.

He said: “Once again, l use this opportunity to thank my people of Bayelsa State who graciously and freely gave me this mandate. lt is actually not my victory but it is for the people of Bayelsa.

“As l always pledge, our administration is people-focused and people-oriented. So this will again give us a better latitude to continue to deliver the dividends of democracy to our people. ”

Describing the judgement as very sound and one of the best that had been delivered in such election petition matters, he said there was still hope for the country.

According to the governor, “matters like these are mere distractions in delivering the dividends of democracy to the people, particularly against the backdrop that we had an election that was adjudged to be one of the freest and the fairest. And yet we have been distracted over this period. I want to let Bayelsa people know that we are still for you and will continue to work for you and walk with you until the final day of our administration.”

Diri expressed appreciation to his legal team for its commitment and passion and all those who worked hard towards securing a sound judgement.

Responding to a question if he was disposed to working with his political opponents, the governor stressed that his administration would work with only those who have had a change of heart and were interested in collaborating with his Prosperity Government in bringing meaningful development to the state.

He emphasised that the days of rigging of elections were over.

“The days where you threaten your own people, chase them out of their own land, intimidate them and go and write results are over. So if they change from those ways, l will work with them.”

In its unanimous decision, the tribunal held that the petitioners failed to adduce any credible evidence to substantiate any of the allegations they raised against the outcome of the Bayelsa governorship poll.

It struck out as incompetent all the additional proof of evidence as well as statements on oath of some of the witnesses that testified for the petitioners.

In particular, the tribunal chairman described as unprofessional the conduct of the state APC chairman, Chief Dennis Otiotio, for testifying as a witness in the case while being a member of the legal team and for being involved in writing fictitious election results in an attempt to deceive the tribunal.

According to the tribunal, Otiotio’s conduct was curious as a legal practitioner.

It also dismissed the allegation that the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, tendered a forged university certificate and NYSC exemption certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), saying it was a pre-election matter that ought to be determined by a high court instead.

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