Diri Commiserates With IGP Over Death Of Police Officers In Bayelsa

A screen grab of Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has commiserated with the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, over the loss of some police personnel that drowned while escorting voting materials during the December 5 senatorial bye-election in the state.

The boat conveying the policemen capsized on its way to Oporoma, the headquarters of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

In a statement issued on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, the governor alsoo condoled with the families of the deceased policemen, adding that their sudden demise while on national duty was very painful.

While describing the incident as unfortunate, he prayed to God to give the IGP and the families of the policemen the strength to bear the great loss.

On the smooth conduct of the election, Governor Diri commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for process put in place for the exercise.

The governor, who voted at his hometown in Sampou Ward 7 Unit 4 accompanied by his wife, Gloria Diri, said INEC’s decision of having accreditation and voting simultaneously saved time and energy.

READ ALSO: INEC Declares Zamfara Constituency Bye-Election Inconclusive

“The process was faster and even smoother. The card reader identified me as soon as my voter’s card was slotted in,” he said.

“So I can describe the process as smooth, fast and peaceful. Certainly, the simultaneous accreditation and voting enhanced the process rather than waiting for hours before coming back to vote. I think this decision of taking them at the same time is far better than what we used to do.”

Reacting to the alleged hijacking of election materials in Agbere community in Sagbama Ward One, Senator Diri described the act as the handiwork of mischief-makers bent on discrediting the electoral process.

The governor called on Bayelsa people not to give a negative image of the state, saying that it is a state with people of integrity that work hard to earn a living.

To Diri, he is optimistic that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would clinch victory judging by the pedigree and capacity of its candidates for the Bayelsa West and Central senatorial districts.

He further described the National Assembly as a place for serious-minded persons and not for jokers.

“We fielded quality candidates and you can see the difference between the PDP candidates and the others. The Senate is not a place for jokers. The Senate is not a place for school dropouts or people who were dismissed from service,” he added.

Police Shoot Teenage Trader, Two Others In Bayelsa

Bayelsa Govt House Photographer, One Other Shot Dead

 

 

Tigger-happy policemen on routine patrol along the Tombia/Etegwe axis of the Yenagoa metropolis have shot a 17-year-old trader and two other residents of Bayelsa State who went to the Tombia market for regular shopping.

The unprovoked shooting enraged some residents of the state on Wednesday who called for steep disciplinary measures to be meted to the officers involved in the shooting.

Channels Television learned that the teenage victim, Alice Azaghene, would require a surgical operation to enable her to use her legs again.

A resident, Kingdom Baine, said the teenager was sent to the market to trade periwinkle before tragedy struck.

“I was in my house yesterday when her elder sister sent her to sell periwinkle at the market in the night around past 7 pm. After then, a police van arrived and shot.

“After shooting the gun, bullets entered her two legs. That was what they told me,” the resident narrated.

Another victim of the shooting, Ebinipre Onojamadu, said the second gunshot fired by the police personnel pierced her legs and put her in her current situation.

READ ALSO: Alleged N338.8m Money Laundering: Trial Of Ex-Lagos Speaker Ikuforiji, Aide Resumes

The 47-year-old Onojamadu may not be able to walk for a very long time as the doctor said the injury she sustained from the gunshot was quite extensive.

“About 6 o’clock in the evening, I was coming out to get some foodstuff. When I got close to the junction almost close to the roundabout, I heard a gunshot,” she said.

“The second gunshot was the one that pierced through my leg. I didn’t know the first time that something had happened to me.

“When they said they were shooting that we should go back, I couldn’t move. That was when I noticed that something had happened to me.”

Meanwhile, the State Police Command issued a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer Asinim Butswat, confirming the incident.

The police spokesman explained that the erring officers have been identified and taken into custody.

According to him, the Commissioner of Police, Mike Okoli, condemned the shooting and called for calm from citizens.

The Commissioner also assured residents of the state the case will be thoroughly investigated and all indicted officer brought to justice.

Bayelsa Bye-Election: Yakubu’s Departure, Others Won’t Affect INEC Activities, Says Muazu

Acting INEC Chairman, Ahmed Muazu, and Professor Mahmood Yakubu at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on November 9, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Air Vice Marshal Ahmed T. Muazu (retired), has said that the departure of Professor Mahmood Yakubu and other National Commissioners from the commission will not affect electoral activities.

He disclosed this on Monday during an interactive session with election stakeholders in Bayelsa State ahead of the December 5 bye-elections in the state.

“This is our first major outing since the temporary exit of the Chairman of the Commission Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the constitutional exit of other National Commissioners,” he said.

“We assure all the stakeholders that the activities of the Commission have not been affected by the departures.

READ ALSO: PDP Names South-East Zonal Caretaker Chairman, Auditor

“This is also the first election being conducted in Bayelsa State in the context of the pandemic and the Commission has made adequate arrangements in conformity with the protocols and guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.”

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

OPENING REMARKS BY THE ACTING CHAIRMAN, AVM AHMED T. MUAZU AT AN INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH ELECTION STAKEHOLDERS IN BAYELSA STATE PREPARATORY TO THE CONDUCT OF DECEMBER 5, BYE-ELECTIONS.

  1. On behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) I welcome you to this interactive session.
  2. This is our first major outing since the temporary exit of the Chairman of the Commission Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the constitutional exit of other National Commissioners. We assure all the stakeholders that the activities of the Commission have not been affected by the departures. This is also the first election being conducted in Bayelsa State in the context of the pandemic and the Commission has made adequate arrangements in conformity with the protocols and guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.
  3. The leadership of the Commission is in Bayelsa State to assess the readiness of its staff and processes relating to the two Senatorial bye-elections holding on December 5, 2020. We want to be sure that all the non-sensitive materials have been deployed. We want to be sure that all categories of ad-hoc staff have been recruited and trained. We want to be sure that the voters are sensitized and remobilized for the election. We also want to be sure that all the stakeholders have keyed into the plans of the Commission.
  4. This Commission is inclusive and consultative and this informs our constant engagement with the critical stakeholders in the electoral process. In this regard, the Commission has made adequate arrangements for Persons Living with Disability (PWD), the elderly and pregnant women. We believe that it is important for all the stakeholders to understand the processes and procedures of the Commission which is constantly evolving based on new innovations and creative application of new technologies in the electoral processes. The sensitive materials for the election will be here on time and stakeholders will have the opportunity of being at the Central Bank to view and audit the materials before they are moved to the Local Government Areas.
  5. The Bayelsa Central Senatorial Bye-Election will be conducted in three Local Government Areas with 43 Registration Areas and 860 Polling Units and Voting Points involving a total of 418, 109 Registered Voters, and a total of 395,554 Permanent Voters Cards collected. In this regard, the Commission will deploy a total of 3589 election staff. The Bayelsa West Senatorial District election will also be held in two Local Governments with a total of 26 Registration Areas and 410 Polling Units and Voting Points. It will also involve a total of 234,649 registered voters with a total of 229,022 Permanent Voters Cards collected. The Commission will deploy a total of 1716 election staff.
  6. We implore all the voters in these two Senatorial Districts not to lower their guards in terms of the COVID-19 protocols. All registered voters must come to the polling units with their facemasks as the policy of the Commission remains NO FACEMASK NO VOTING. The Commission will also implement the two-tier queuing system involving an inner cordon and outer cordon as well as the strategic and targeted deployment of infrared thermometers to polling units and Collation Centers.
  7. The Commission will activate and deploy the Z-pads for the purposes of real time uploading of Forms EC8A (Polling Unit Results) using the INEC Result Viewing Portal. We are committed to transparency and accountability in the electoral process and will keep upgrading the processes and procedures of the Commission to achieve free, fair and safe elections.
  8. We implore all the critical stakeholders to reeve up and accelerate voter and civic education and get out the votes. The value of the vote must on no account be diminished and mandate is compromised when a negligible proportion of the people exercise their democratic franchise.
  9. We assure the voting population that adequate security will be provided at the polling stations and the collation centers. We have improved our collaboration with security agencies and this synergy assisted in the good conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections. The Commission and the security agencies will activate a joint situation room for smooth and timely coordination of security and electoral operations and necessary interventions when the need arises. We have the assurance of the highest echelon of the security agencies that they are prepared for the election and that their state structures will be activated to aid the process.
  10. We urge all the critical stakeholders to remain law-abiding and be assured that in this and all elections, the votes of the people will be the sole determinant of who gets elected to office. We received tremendous support from the voters in Edo and Ondo States and we expect nothing less from the voters in Bayelsa.

23rd NOVEMBER, 2020

‘We Do Not Need Distractions’: Diri Reacts To Supreme Court Verdict

Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri reacts to the Supreme Court Judgement which upheld his election in Abuja on November 18, 2020.

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri, has reacted to the Supreme Court judgement which upheld his election as the duly elected governor of the state.

Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja, Diri said Bayelsa State does not need further distractions from politicians, adding that the apex court ruling has laid to rest attempts by the opposition to kick him out of office.

“As a state, we do not need all of these distractions. We are one state that the brotherhood should be predominant,” he said.

“After elections particularly when the governor has taken the oath of office, we expected everybody to support and bring their ideas on board for Bayelsa to succeed, grow and prosperous.

“We have tagged our administration as the administration of prosperity. Today marks the end of litigations. Constitutionally, I believe that today is the end of all litigations.”

The governor while admitting that the opposition politicians have the right to approach the court when necessary, called on them to support his administration for the overall good of the people of the state.

He also reiterated the commitment of the state government in delivering the dividends of democracy to residents of Bayelsa.

Diri’s remark come after the Supreme Court upheld his election as the duly elected Governor of Bayelsa State.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the Apex Court dismissed the six appeals filed against the governor and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.

The appeals dismissed were filed by Alliance for Democracy (AD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), Labour Movement (LM) and Accord Party.

Supreme Court Strikes Out Bayelsa Govt’s Suit On Soku Oilfield

Supreme Court Strikes Out APC's Appeal On Exclusion From Rivers Elections

 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck out a suit filed by the Bayelsa State government over the disputed Soku oilfield belonging to Rivers State.

The apex court said the action of the Bayelsa State government, by seeking the nullification of the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered in favour of Rivers State, when the Court of Appeal has not even ruled on the matter,  was an abuse of court process and forum shopping.

Bayelsa State government had filed Suit: SC/CV/649/2020 through its Attorney General against the Attorney General of the Federation and Attorney General of Rivers State, after the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered it to refund  the 13 percent derivation it had received over the years from Soku oilfield, to Rivers State.

While leading a panel of seven justices to hear the suit, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, wondered why the Bayelsa State government decided to file the suit at the apex court since steps were being taken to challenge the judgement of the Federal High Court at the Court of Appeal.

Justice Ngwuta observed that the Bayelsa State government was jumping the gun and its action was tantamount to abuse of court process.

He asserted that there was no way the apex court could make pronouncement on a judgment that was given by a Federal High Court when the appellate court has not done so.

He explained that the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction on a matter relating to a High Court. To this end, he directed the Bayelsa State government to take its grievances to the Court of Appeal.

It was on the basis that the counsel to the Bayelsa State government, Kemsauode Wodu, applied for a formal withdrawal of the suit and it was struck out by the Supreme Court.

It will be recalled that Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, while delivering  judgement in Suit Number FHC/ABJ/CS/984/19, filed by Attorney-General of Rivers State against the National Boundary Commission, based on documents from relevant government agencies, had declared that the Soku oilfields belong to Rivers State.

Ekwo had noted that the failure and refusal of the National Boundary Commission to rectify the admitted mistake in the 11th edition of the administrative map of Nigeria since 2002 which erroneously showed St Batholomew River instead of River Santa Barbara as the interstate Boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa States, was a breach of commission’s statutory duty and a flagrant disobedience of the order of the Supreme Court contained in its judgment delivered on 10/7/2012 in Suit Number SC. 106 /2009.

The judge explained that the continued reliance on the said defective 11th edition of the administrative map of Nigeria by the other government agencies/statutory bodies, particularly, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Accountant General of the Federation in the computation of revenue accruable to Rivers State from the Federation Account has resulted in the continued unjust denial of derivation funds accruing from the Soku oil wells situate within Rivers State to the detriment of the State Government.

Justice Ekwo then directed that notice be served of the decision of the Court on the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Accountant General of the Federation.

The judge said the National Boundary Commission cannot unilaterally delineate boundaries between Rivers State and Bayelsa State after the Supreme Court judgment on the matter.

He also dismissed an objection to the suit raised by the National Boundary Commission because it lacked merit.

We Are Not Hoarding COVID-19 Palliatives – Bayelsa Govt

A file photo of Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri.

 

The Bayelsa State government says it has distributed all food items and other palliatives it received as donations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the country.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Commissioner of Information, Orientation, and Strategy in the state, Ayibaina Duba, stressed that the government was not hoarding palliatives in any warehouse in Bayelsa.

He explained that the clarification became necessary to ease the tension arising from attacks on warehouses containing COVID-19 palliatives and other items by rampaging residents in some states.

The commissioner believes although Bayelsa has been commendably peaceful, it is necessary to dispel misinformation from those with motives to foment trouble.

He stated that so far, the state government had distributed food and other items four times to residents across the eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) as COVID-19 palliatives between April and July.

“As a government, we commend the youths of Bayelsa for their peaceful disposition and their statesmanship in ensuring that the state is calm and rid of criminality.

“I recall that about two weeks ago, during the #EndSARS protest, Governor Douye Diri addressed the protesters at the Government House and marched peacefully with them to the headquarters of the state police command,” Duba noted.

He added, “The governor, thereafter, quickly acted on their demands by setting up two panels to address their concerns. Members of the #EndSARS campaign and the civil society are in these panels.”

The commissioner gave an assurance that the government would continue to encourage and support the youths to achieve their real potentials through entrepreneurship, agriculture, and skill acquisition.

Giving a breakdown of the donors, the items received, and the distribution to various LGAs, he disclosed that the government purchased and distributed 14,500 cartons of noodles, 14,657 (10kg) bags of beans, and 6,105 (10kg) bags of garri.

Duba listed other donors as the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, CACOVID Foundation, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Foundation, and Ecobank, among others.

He stated that beneficiaries of the items were in the eight LGSa, including non-indigenes, corps members, and the Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons.

Others were the physically challenged, orphanage homes, and persons displaced by the Nembe community crisis.

Nigeria At 60: Bayelsa Governor Calls For Unity, Peace

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri,

 

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has emphasised the importance of unity as Nigeria and Bayelsa marked their 60th and 24th anniversaries respectively on Thursday.

Governor Diri in a statewide broadcast aired on Yenagoa-based radio stations on Thursday called on Nigerians and Bayelsans “to emphasise the things that unite us as we have much in common than those things that divide us.”

A press release by his spokesman, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as specifically calling on Bayelsans to focus more on promoting unity, peace and sustainable development rather than dissipate energy on issues that cause disunity.

He also urged the people to join hands with his administration in building Bayelsa in line with the vision of its founding fathers.

He stressed the need to honour the memory of those that fought for the country’s political freedom in order to liberate the people from the shackles of poverty, ignorance, injustice and underdevelopment.

Describing the October 1 annual celebration as solemn and significant, Senator Diri congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians for achieving the remarkable milestone.

The governor also saluted the courage, sacrifice and tenacity of all frontline medical personnel in the fight against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlighting some of his development efforts, he noted that the state’s progress might have been slow but it is no longer where it was at creation 24 years ago.

“Whereas the noble dreams and lofty heights hoped for may not have been fully attained, we are nevertheless not where we started from. Progress may have been slow, but slow progress is still progress,” he stated.

Senator Diri identified agriculture as his administration’s major sector targeted at engendering sustainable development and growth.

“We have already identified some strategic areas to substantially invest in, which include rice, fish, cassava and plantain production.

“Furthermore, we are seriously supporting SMEs to diversify the economy of the state by empowering over 1000 Bayelsans through the ongoing Diri Boost scheme.”

Speaking on the ongoing Etegwe-Edepie roundabout expansion, the senatorial districts roads, Bayelsa Palm-Igbogene Ring Road and the Gateway Road projects, he expressed the commitment of his government towards ensuring their completion.

“Work is far advanced with fencing of the Bayelsa International Cargo Airport to ensure full operations.”

“We are pleased to have also undertaken various measures to give the city a facelift in our urban renewal policy. Of note is the sanitisation and fencing of major markets at Swali, Kpansia and Etegwe.”

The governor averred that his administration had demonstrated commitment in the prompt payment of salaries, pensions and gratuity despite the dwindling funds from the federal allocations.

He also noted that teachers had been trained on COVID-19 safety protocols to enable students and pupils to return safely to school just as he had also signed into law various bills to improve the governance processes.

In the education sector, Diri said the government would build three new technical schools and upgrade existing structures in schools while general hospitals are being renovated in the eight local government areas.

On security, he said the situation had improved significantly through the proactive stance of his government, which had also taken steps to engender an improvement in power supply within the Yenagoa metropolis.

Police Foil Kidnap Attempt On Bayelsa Doctor, Arrest Five Suspects

File photo of a Police patrol vans.

 

The police authorities in Bayelsa State have foiled the kidnap of a medical doctor working at the General Hospital in Odi, Kolokuma/ Opukuma Local Government Area of the state.

According to a statement issued by police public relations officer, Asinim Butswat, the state command arrested five suspects in connection with the incident.

“Credible intelligence revealed that some suspected kidnappers conspired among themselves, went to the Quarters of the Doctor at General hospital Odi, on 10 September 2020, to kidnap him but met his absence,” the statement partly read.

Butswat said the Commissioner of Police, Mike Okoli, ordered the Anti-Kidnapping Unit to track down the perpetrators of the crime.

The suspects apprehended were Sunny Ubaka, Inerepamo Ikati, Pereowei John, Osamedike Daniel, Sambo Olawei have their age brackets between 21 and 26 years.

According to the police spokesman, they all confessed to the crime, adding that investigation is ongoing.

Butswat also asked residents of the state to avail the police of timely information to reduce the level of criminality in the state.

Bayelsa Election: Court Fixes September 14 To Hear Diri’s Appeal

A collage of a gavel and Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has fixed September 14 for the hearing in the appeal filed by the Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri.

The Bayelsa State Governor is challenging the judgement of the State Governorship Election Tribunal which nullified his election on 12 grounds.

At the hearing on Thursday, some factional members of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) brought an application to be joined as parties in the appeal.

Counsel to the ANDP Kehinde Ogunwumiju informed the court that a notice of preliminary objection which is challenging the competence of the application has been filed.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Nullifies Bayelsa Governorship Election, Diri To Appeal Ruling

Justice Stephen Adah, who is the head of the three-man panel hearing the appeal ruled that at the next date, parties will be allowed to respond to the application filed by factional members of the ANDP.

The Court also awarded a cost of N200,000 against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the inconveniences it has caused the ANDP over the PDP’s withdrawal of a brief of argument it filed on September 3, on the ground that a new brief of argument has been filed.

The Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) in its petition challenging the victory of Governor Diri in the November 19 governorship election claimed that the party was unlawfully excluded from the election.

In a split judgement of two-one, the three-man panel ruled that INEC does not have the power to disqualify any candidate for an election.

But INEC in its argument had said that the party’s Deputy Governorship candidate was 34-year-old as at the time of nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest the election.

ANDP told Justice Yunusa Musa, who delivered 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.

Justice Musa in his response said that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insists that the petition of the ANDP stands.

The Tribunal however ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to order a fresh election within 90 days.

NAF Airlifts Conjoined Twins To Bayelsa After Successful Separation

Parents of the conjoined twins that were successfully separated at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola arrive in Bayelsa on August 30, 2020.

 

The Nigerian Air Force has airlifted a set of twins after successfully undergoing a separation surgery at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola, Adamawa State.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Sunday by NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola.

According to him, the twins – Mercy and Grace Aeiygbenmi, along with their parents and medical team have been conveyed to their base in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Reacting, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who received them thanked the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the entire Air Force for the support provided throughout the process.

On his part, Abubakar, reassured Nigerians that the Air Force will continue to sustain its humanitarian relief operations, including medical outreaches, to alleviate the sufferings of victims of insurgency, banditry and natural disasters.

The twins who were born on December 1, 2019, were joined at the abdomen, and was successfully separated by the collective efforts of medical professionals.

See Photos Below:     

Diri Appeals Judgement Nullifying His Election As Bayelsa Governor

A file photo of Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, at the INEC headquarters in Abuja on February 14, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

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.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Nullifies Bayelsa Governorship Election, Diri To Appeal Ruling

Court To Decide Certificate Case Against Buhari Today
A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

 

“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.

Tribunal Nullifies Bayelsa Governorship Election, Diri To Appeal Ruling

A collage of a gavel and Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri

 

The Bayelsa Governorship Election Tribunal on Monday nullified the election of Governor Douye Diri.

The Tribunal also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to order a fresh election within 90 days.

The verdict follows the petition by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) challenging the victory of Governor Diri in the November 19 governorship election.

The ANDP claimed that the party was unlawfully excluded from the election.

In a split judgement of two-one, the three-man panel ruled that INEC does not have the power to disqualify any candidate for an election.

INEC in its argument had said that the party’s Deputy Governorship candidate was 34-year-old as at the time of nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest the election.

ANDP told Justice Yunusa Musa, who delivered 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.

Justice Musa in his response said that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insists that the petition of the ANDP stands.

He also added that only a court has the power to disqualify any candidate for any election and that the petition was filed within 21 days, which is the stipulated time for petitions to be filed.

Justice Musa described the action of INEC to exclude the ANDP from the Bayelsa Governorship Election as illegal.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo, however, dismissed the petition on technical grounds.

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri

I’ll Appeal Tribunal’s Ruling

Governor Diri in his reaction 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.

Tribunal Dismisses Three Petitions

Last Saturday, the tribunal dismissed three petitions filed against Governor Douye Diri challenging his victory.

The three-man panel took the decision 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.