A socio-cultural organisation, Niger-Delta Peace and Justice Movement on Sunday raised the alarm that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last election in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, was trying to frustrate the Supreme Court from serving him with the counter appeal filed by the incumbent governor Henry Seriake Dickson.
The organisation also accused him of using surrogates in the media to sponsor “untenable whitewashing” to canvass for a favourable position on his appeal against the election of the state governor.
The General Secretary of NDPJM, Stephen Ebibofa, in a statement claimed that Sylva was trying to buy time by dodging the Supreme Court bailiffs from serving him or his lawyer the appeal papers.
According to hm, it was obvious that Sylva’s antics were meant to manipulate the judiciary for a favour in the case.
Governor Dickson, PDP and INEC had countered Sylva’s appeal challenging the verdict of the Court of Appeal which had upheld Dickson’s election. But all attempts by the apex court bailiffs to serve Sylva, it was gathered, proved abortive for the whole of last week.
Investigations showed that the Lead Counsel to Sylva, Sebastine Hon, SAN, shut his Abuja office, located at 16, Dan Suleiman Street, behind Utako Market in Utako Central Business District in Abuja, throughout last week to evade being served with the court papers.
It was further gathered that the bailiffs, who were sighted at Hon’s office on Thursday and Friday last week, left the office frustrated.
However, sources close to Sylva hinted that the office will continue to be shut for the whole of this week to drag the matter further and buy time until a new Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) is appointed on November 10 before Sylva and his lawyer will be available for service of the court papers.
Ebibofa intimated in the statement that the Presidency and APC leadership were heaping pressure on the current CJN not to assign the Sylva appeal to any panel of justices until Justice Onoghen is sworn in as CJN. This, he stated, was a calculated attempt to influence the course of justice as he warned of the consequences of such intentions.
“Sylva is causing unnecessary delay to avoid the hearing of the appeal he brought before the Supreme Court. It is instructive for all patriots to note that the likes of Sylva are a threat to our democracy and judiciary. Obviously, he has no respect for institutions of state, believing that any institution can be bought or rubbished as he’s bragging and boasting all over and dropping the name of President Muhammadu Buhari but he can’t escape the proper hearing of this consequential appeal”, the group stated.
When contacted last night, the Special Adviser on Media Relations to Governor Dickson, Francis Agbo criticized Sylva for wasting the precious time of the Supreme Court and advised the apex court not to be intimidated by Sylva and the APC.
While declaring that Bayelsans overwhelmingly re-elected Governor Dickson in the polls, Agbo noted that Sylva’s hide and seek game will not distract the Governor from delivering on his campaign promises to the people.
Ebibofa also lashed out at the former governor for his alleged sponsorship of “untenable whitewashing’ publications in the media to canvass for a “questionable ruling” at the apex court.
He drew specific attention to a publication by one Anayo Okolie in THISDAY Newspapers dated October 30 and entitled: “Bayelsa: Who is afraid of the Supreme Court” which, he claimed, went beyond the curve of objective journalism.
“The resort to using sponsored surrogates in the media cannot save Sylva and his acolytes as we believe justice will be done as a necessity in this case”.