A five-man panel of the Court of Appeal presided over by Justice Adzira Mshella has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by Douye Diri challenging the nullification of his election as the Governor of Bayelsa state.
At the hearing of the appeal in Abuja, lawyer to Governor Diri, while urging the court to overturn the verdict of the Bayelsa state governorship election petition tribunal, argued that the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) fielded an under-age candidate who was not qualified to stand for the election.
Lawyer to the ANDP however insists that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) unlawfully excluded its candidate from the governorship election and urged the court to affirm the decision of the tribunal nullifying the election of governor Diri.
The court also reserved judgment in the appeals filed by the INEC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Bayelsa State Governorship Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja had on August 17 nullified the election of Governor Diri over INEC’s exclusion of the candidate of the ANDP.
The court ordered the commission to conduct a fresh election within 90 days.
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has appealed the judgement which nullified his election as the governor of the state.
The governor’s lawyers filed the Notice of Appeal on Tuesday at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He is challenging the majority judgement of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal which nullified his election on 12 grounds.
The Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are listed as first, second, and third respondents in the appeal.
Governor Diri disagreed with the entire majority decision of the Tribunal as delivered by Justice Yunusa Musa and Justice Sikiru Owodunni.
He argued that the petition by the ANDP challenged its alleged unlawful exclusion from the election that was conducted on November 16, 2019.
The governor added that the cause of action of the first respondent crystallised on November 16, 2019, the Election Day when it claimed to have realised that INEC indeed did not place it on the ballot.
“From the date, the 1st Respondent had 21 days within which to file a petition against the alleged unlawful exclusion from the election.
“There was no election on the 14th day of February 2020 held by INEC to warrant the 1st Respondent’s petition filed on 26th February 2020, more than five months after the declaration of results, as the ground of complaint of unlawful exclusion is a complaint against an election, not a declaration,” he said.
According to Governor Diri, the case of ANDP is not hinged on the nullification of the votes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, David Lyon, nor on the declaration of results by INEC on February 14, nor on his return as the governor of Bayelsa State.
He insists that it was hinged on the ANDP’s alleged unlawful exclusion from the election, stressing that the first respondent’s petition was statute-barred and in breach of the provisions of Section 285(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
The governor, therefore, urged the appellate court to set aside the entire majority decision of the Tribunal, as well as dismiss the petition by the first respondent.
He also asked the court to uphold the minority judgement of the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo.
Governor Diri believes Justice Sirajo appreciates the law and correctly applies the same to the facts and rightly dismissed the petition of ANDP.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has revealed that he will appeal the ruling by the tribunal nullifying his election as governor of the state.
He also said that he has instructed his lawyers to file the necessary papers.
Governor Diri disclosed this shortly after the tribunal ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wrongly excluded the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) governorship candidate in the November 2019 election.
The governor said he has implicit confidence in the judiciary and he would triumph at the end.
“We trust in the judiciary and we are appealing the judgement. With God on our side, we will get justice.
“This is a court of the first instance and I have instructed our lawyers to file an appeal. We have a right to appeal even up to the Supreme Court.”
The governor urged members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his supporters not to panic but continue to remain calm and law-abiding.
The Bayelsa Governorship Election Tribunal is set to deliver judgment on the petitions of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) and the Accord Party, challenging the victory of Governor Douye Diri.
The ANDP is claiming that the party was unlawfully excluded from the November 2019 governorship election.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in its argument said that the party’s Deputy Governorship candidate was 34 years old as at the time of nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest the election.
In today’s sitting the ANDP told Justice Yunusa Musa who is delivering the lead judgment that its initial Deputy Governorship Candidate, David Esinkuma was duly substituted by the Party within the allowed time frame, following the notification from INEC that he’s under-age.
The tribunal had earlier dismissed three petitions against the election of Governor Douye Diri.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Owodunni, the tribunal held that the petition filed by Owei Woniwei of the Alliance for Democracy is incompetent and lacks merit.
According to the Tribunal, the petitioner failed to prove the allegations of the forged declaration of age and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharged certificate levelled against the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence.
The second judgment between Ibiene Stephen versus the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Duoye Diri, his deputy, and PDP was also heard by Justice Yunusa Musa.
The Tribunal dismissed United Peoples Congress’ petition challenging Governor Diri’s election.
An Appeal Court sitting in Owerri, Imo State on Tuesday dismissed a suit filed by the former Bayelsa governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Timi Alaibe against the state governor, Duoye Diri.
Mr. Alaibe is challenging the emergence of Diri as the legitimate winner of the PDP primaries held on September 3, 2019, which also produced him as the governor of the state.
The Supreme Court has fixed Wednesday, February 26 to hear the application filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The ruling party is seeking among others, a review of the February 13 judgement of the apex court which disqualified its candidate in the November 16, 2019, governorship election in Bayelsa State, David Lyon.
In the application filed on Thursday last week by its team of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Niger (SAN), Wole Olanipekun, the APC asked the Supreme Court to set aside some portions of its judgment.
This include where the court “wrongly” held that the Federal High Court disqualified its governorship candidate along with its deputy governorship candidate, and where it held that the joint ticket of its candidates was vitiated by the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, and that both candidates were deemed not to be candidates in the election.
The party also urged the Supreme Court to set aside the portion of its judgment where it ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare as winner of the governorship election, candidates with the highest number of lawful votes.
It disagreed with the portion where the court ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to its governorship candidate and issue a fresh one to the candidate who had the highest number of lawful votes.
The APC argued that it was wrong for the Supreme Court to have voided its candidates’ participation in the election, because the judgment by the Federal High Court which disqualified its deputy governorship candidate, was stayed as at when the election was conducted.
It also requested that the Supreme Court set aside what it described as the “wrong” interpretation given to its judgment of February 13, 2020, and the subsequent execution by INEC.
The party contended, among others, that the Supreme Court in its judgment misinterpreted the November 12, 2019, judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which the apex court affirmed.
It insisted that the Supreme Court acted without jurisdiction and denied it fair hearing when it proceeded to disqualify its governorship candidate, even though the Federal High Court in the judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo, which the apex court affirmed, refused the plaintiffs’ prayer to disqualify Mr Lyon.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has reacted to the judgment of the Supreme Court on the governorship election in Bayelsa State.
In an exclusive with Channels Television, he said the apex court made a mistake when it treated a pre-election matter as a post-election case.
“What their Lordships ought to have done was to ask the lawyers, ‘can you address us with respect to our jurisdiction?’
“Because Section 133 of the Electoral Act stipulates that upon the conclusion of an election and once candidates are declared, any challenge of the conduct of the election, of the qualification of the candidates shall be heard and determined by an Election Petition Tribunal,” Falana stated.
On February 13, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili sacked David Lyon and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship poll.
The court then ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the APC candidates and issue fresh certificates to the candidate of the party with the next highest votes, and with the required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election.
It disqualified Degi-Eremieoyo as a candidate in the election for submitting forged certificates to INEC, stressing that the deputy-governorship candidate had infected the joint ticket with which he and Lyon ran for and won the election.
This led to the declaration of Senator Douye Diri and Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winners of the election and subsequent swearing-in as the governor and deputy governors of Bayelsa State.
The leadership of the APC and Degi-Eremieoyo have separately asked the apex court to review its judgement on the election.
In his reaction, Falana who has disagreed with the APC led government on many issues insisted that the apex court made a mistake.
He stressed that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, saying it should have gone before the Election Petition Tribunal.
Ahead of the review of the judgment by the Supreme Court, the senior advocate was hopeful that the opportunity would further develop and strengthen the country’s laws.
He said, “The election was held on the basis of the judgement of the Court of Appeal which was to the fact that yes! Degi-Eremieoyo changed his name many times, not that he forged any of his certificates; there was no such proof. Therefore, he can contest the election.”
“On the basis of that judgement, the people voted; which means by that judgement, the election was valid and legal.
“As of that date, there was no pending appeal before the Supreme Court whereby INEC could be accused of having violated the doctrines of lis pendens i.e. ‘since you knew a case was in court, why did you hold election? As was the case of Peter Obi and INEC,” he added.
Falana stated that it was after the conclusion of the election that the PDP filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
He stressed, “With profound respect, the attention of the Supreme Court was not drawn to the legality of that appeal; the case had become spent.”
The personal home of the immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, was on Friday attacked by unknown protesters.
The attack comes just hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) issued a Certificate of Return to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, in the 2019 governorship election, Diri Douye.
Some angry protesters suspected to be loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) earlier in the day attacked the PDP secretariat in Yenagoa, the State capital, destroying properties.
Diri was issued the certificate of return following the Supreme Court ruling which sacked APC candidate, David Lyon as Bayelsa State governor-elect.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, told journalists during a briefing in Abuja that Diri was declared the winner of the November 2019 election after top INEC officials met to review the results of the election, without the votes of the APC which have been voided by the court.
“The total votes cast after excluding those of the APC now stand at 146,999. PDP polled 143,172 and scored 25 percent as required by the law,” Yakubu said during the briefing.
Hours after the Supreme Court sacked the governor-elect of Bayelsa State, David Lyon, and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, Channels Television has exclusively obtained the enrolled order of the judgement.
The judgement summary contains the nine major decisions that make up the ruling of the apex court with regards to the election.
A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili on Thursday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the All Progressives Congress’ candidate (Lyon) as the winner of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
The Apex Court ordered INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to the candidate of the party with the next highest votes and with the required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election, which are the Peoples Democratic Party.
“We really must stop this habit of blaming President (Muhammadu) Buhari for everything, including issues that are not his business.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, was quoted as saying this during an interview with reporters on Tuesday in Abuja.
He was responding to the various reactions trailing the outcomes of the governorship elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
Governor Yahaya Bello and Mr David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated Mr Musa Wada and Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi and Bayelsa States respectively.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has said the victory of David Lyon in the November 16 Governorship Election in Bayelsa state means President Muhammadu Buhari has a brand new baby boy.
David Lyon who was declared winner and Governor-Elect, defeated the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Duoye Diri and will take an oath of office on February 14, 2019.
Mr. Oshiomhole who spoke with state house correspondent said that the party abided by the request of President Buhari for a peaceful poll, stressing that the Bayelsa election can be described as the most peaceful since 1999.
“We went to present the governor-elect of Bayelsa state, Governor David Lyon to President Muhammadu Buhari as a president and our father; he has a brand new, sparkling baby boy who will be by February 14, sworn in.
“We thank the president for his fatherly role and he insisted that while we are determined to win an election, we play by the rule and ensure that the process is transparent.
“We were proud to tell him that besides very isolated cases of ballot box snatching, the election in Bayelsa can be described as the most peaceful since 1999.”
On the Kogi West Senatorial rerun election, Mr. Oshiomhole said that Senator Dino Melaye is struggling after decamping from the APC to PDP.
“We realised that of all the 16 senators who decamped along with Senator Bukola Saraki from the APC to PDP, hard as they have tried to come back, the Nigerian people in their respective constituencies have insisted on punishing them for being disloyal for transferring or monetising their mandate.
“I think the only one still struggling now is Dion Melaye, as you can see Senator Adeyemi is leading, even though INEC is insisting on a rerun.
“The lessons to be learned for us as a party are rather clear when politicians go to the poll to collect mandate on a particular political party platform, and then they leave for another party, the electorate will always be waiting for them,” he added.