Bayesla Election: Court Reserves Judgement In Diri’s Appeal

Logo of a court gavel

 

 

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 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.

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.

Bayelsa Election: I’ll Appeal Tribunal’s Ruling – Diri

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri,

 

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.

Bayelsa Election: Tribunal To Deliver Judgment On Petitions Against Diri’s Victory

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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.

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri,

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.

Diri Cuts Bayelsa Budget By 24.3%

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri,

 

The Bayelsa Governor, Douye Diri, has cut the state’s 2020 budget by 24 percent.

The bill, which was N242bn, has been cut to N183bn.

Governor Diri said that the decision was reached following a drop in monthly revenue occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He disclosed this on Tuesday while speaking at a Public Forum to review the 2020 Consolidation for Prosperity Budget in Yenagoa.

He said the anticipated projections of the initial budget had to be re-evaluated to reflect the current realities of the global economic downturn occasioned by the devastating impact of the COVID-19 challenge.

He also noted that the sharp drop in the international price of crude oil from $55 per barrel benchmark to $20 crippled the country’s economy that is largely dependent on proceeds from oil.

According to the governor, all the parameters used in the previous budget, which was presented to the state assembly on April 22, had been overtaken by the effects of the health crisis.

“The 2020 Consolidation for Prosperity Budget was passed with certain assumptions that have been negatively altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The effect of the global lockdown has resulted in low demand for crude oil, which is Nigeria’s major earner. The price of oil dropped to as low as $20 per barrel in some months as against the $55 per barrel benchmark.

“Consequently, there is need to revise the budget to face the existing realities. The proposed budget size is now N183.16billion as against N242.19billion that was in the original budget”, Governor Diri added.

Reacting to questions, the governor stressed that given his administration’s priority on workers’ welfare, the slashing of the budget would not affect civil servants’ salaries.

“From the revised budget figure, you can see that nothing affected the personnel cost and salaries. There is no intention to reduce workers salaries. We should even be thinking of increasing the salaries once our resources improve”, he further added.

Bayelsa Election: Appeal Court Dismisses Timi Alaibe’s Suit Against Diri

 

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.

READ ALSO: Bayelsa Governorship Election: Court Dismisses Alaibe’s Suit Against Diri

The former governor aspirant had dragged Douye Diri and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over what he described as a ‘flawed process’ of the PDP primary.

But a Federal High Court in Owerri had on March 10, 2020, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.

The court noted that the PDP followed all the constitutional requirements to conduct the primary and subsequent emergence of Diri as the rightful candidate of the party.

Bayelsa Governor Diri Signs Executive Order On COVID-19

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa

 

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has signed an Executive Order on COVID-19 measures to contain the spread of the virus in the state.

The bill christened “Bayelsa State Infectious Disease, Emergency Prevention Regulation 2020” was signed on Thursday at the Government House in Yenagoa, the state capital.

The order is designed for the security and public health of residents of the state.

Shortly after signing the executive order, he ordered the closure of all markets except for the sales of essential commodities such as food and medicals.

Other public places affected include event centres, bars, places of worship, public and private educational institutions and other public gatherings except a written approval is obtained from the governor for such gathering.

He also directed the Ministries of Trade, Health, Environment, and the Environmental Sanitation Authority to supervise the restrictions.

Governor Diri further directed all supermarkets in the state to adopt rules of social distancing and ensure that customers are sanitised towards promoting public health.

The Executive Order is in the exercise of the powers conferred on the Governor, pursuant to the provisions of Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, cap. 2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, having regard to the provisions of Sections 2, 3 and 4. of the Constitution.

Although no case has been recorded in the state, the government is leaving no stone unturned as it continues to take stringent measures such as the travel restrictions, closure of markets amongst others to combat the deadly pandemic.

Let’s Give Peace A Chance, Diri Tells Opposition

 

Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has urged opposition parties to give peace a chance and join hands with him in his bid to rebuild the state.

Mr Diri was declared the winner of November 16, 2019, Bayelsa election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a day after the Supreme Court sacked Mr David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and ordered the electoral body to withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to him.

Speaking during a thanksgiving service on Sunday, Mr Diri said that he would run an all-inclusive government, hence the need for the cooperation and support of all leaders in the state.

READ ALSO: SERAP Gives FG Seven-Day Ultimatum To Disclose Details Of Recovered Abacha Loot

 


He urged people not to be vindictive, stating that the recent declaration is a lesson for Nigeria.

“Let us not be vindictive, this lesson is not only for Bayelsa, it is for Nigeria, and that no man has the power more than the almighty creator.

“I use this opportunity to call on all Bayelsans home and abroad that there is a new government in place and we are inviting them to come with their skills and resources to come and invest in Bayelsa.

“Let us give peace a chance, without security, nobody will come to Bayelsa. We must ensure that Bayelsa is peaceful and secure,” he added.

Seize The Moment Of Glory To ‘Build Bridges Of Unity’, Jonathan Tells Diri

 

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has asked the governor of Bayelsa state, Senator Douye Diri, to seize this moment of glory to build bridges of unity by entrenching a culture of love, fairness and justice in the polity.

Senator Diri was sworn in as the fifth civilian governor of Bayelsa state on Friday, following a Supreme Court judgement sacking elected candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), David Lyon, and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, hours before the inauguration.

A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Mr Lyon and issue a fresh certificate 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.

READ ALSO: Douye Diri Sworn In As Bayelsa Governor

Justice Ejembi Ekwo, who read the lead judgment on Thursday, made the orders after disqualifying the APC’s deputy governorship candidate, Degi-Eremienyo, for submitting forged certificates to INEC.

Mr Jonathan, who congratulated Governor Diri in a statement he personally signed, said that the journey to the Creek Haven is a divine one.

“As Governor, the responsibility of building hope and sustaining peace across the State now lies on your shoulders.

“Your journey to Creek Haven is a divine one, so I advise you to use the position to do good to humanity and pursue the development of the State in order to write your name in gold.

“You have worked with me before as a commissioner, so I am without doubt that you will live up to the expectations of our people,” he added.

Mr Jonathan called on all Bayelsa people to be “law-abiding, peaceful and embrace this transition in all sincerity, and work together towards a united and prosperous State.”