Bayelsa Election: APC Is On The Ballot Paper – Festus Okoye
The Chairman, Voter Education, and Information of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Festus Okoye, has said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) logo is on the ballot papers ahead of the governorship election in Bayelsa state.
A Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Thursday declared that the APC didn’t follow constitutional guidelines in its primaries hence the party has no candidate for the November 16th election in the state.
One of the APC aspirants, Senator Heineken Lopkobiri had earlier approached the court asking it to declare him, and not David Lyon, the authentic candidate of the APC.
Mr. Okoye who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily explained that the court order said INEC should not put the name of Senator Lokpobiri or Mr. Lyon.
“The APC is on the ballot paper because it has already been printed and there is no court order or restraining order saying that INEC should not have the APC as a political party on the ballot.
“What the order said is that we should not put the plaintiff or the candidate that his name was submitted on the ballot, what we have on the ballot papers are the logos of the various political parties.”
He added that it is the political party that is contesting in the election and when it gets to the stage of declaration and return, that’s when the candidate which has been nominated for the position will now be considered through the form EC8E.
On the issue of security and voting during the elections in both states, Mr. Okoye urged the political parties to coordinate their supporters and avoid engaging in high-level rhetoric, hate speech and also heating up the polity.
“When you have political parties who are supposed to go in a very civil manner to mobilise vote from their supporters, engaging in high-level rhetoric, hate speech and also heating up the polity, it creates an impression that what we are going into is a civil war rather than an ordinary civic responsibility. So that has impacted on the atmosphere in some of these states, we didn’t allow that dampen our spirit.
“I believe that despite everything that has happened in the states, there is a possibility that we are going to have a good election because we prepared well.
“The appeal should be to the political parties to also make sure that their supporters behave themselves during this particular period so that they don’t do anything untoward to prevent the people from coming out to exercise their democratic franchise,” he added.
Meanwhile, the judgement of the Federal High Court was set aside by an Appeal Court in Bayelsa State on Friday, ordering INEC to recognise Mr Lyon as the Candidate of the APC.
The court ruled on a motion ex-parte filed by the lawyers of Lyon, stating that he remained the candidate of the APC for the election pending the determination of an appeal he filed against the judgement of the lower court.
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