Bayelsa Governor Tests Negative For Coronavirus

A file photo of Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has tested negative for coronavirus (COVID-19).

His acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday following speculations that the governor may have been infected with the virus.

Alabrah explained that Governor Diri was tested for COVID-19 by officials of the epidemiology unit of the state Ministry of Health on Wednesday and the samples were sent to the Irrua Specialist Hospital, in Edo State.

He added that the result was obtained from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)-accredited laboratory at the hospital.

“The result showed that Governor Douye Diri had ‘no evidence of COVID-19 infection,” he said.

The governor’s aide said his principal opted for the test after several phone calls and messages, following speculations on the social media that he might have been infected.

According to him, this was fuelled by his sitting next to Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State who tested positive for the virus, during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja on March 19.

Following the result of the test, Governor Diri thanked Nigerians and the people of Bayelsa for their concern, love, and good wishes toward him and his family.

He also prayed for a reversal and healing for all those that had been infected by the pandemic.

“I had to take the test so as to douse the tension and end all the speculation. Besides, I needed to know my status concerning the COVID-19.

“I am, therefore, thankful to God that the result was negative as I anticipated,” he said.

The governor added, “I also thank Nigerians and Bayelsans all over the world for their concern, love and prayers. I pray for everyone that has been infected by this disease to be healed.”

Meanwhile, the state government has directed civil servants on Grade Levels 1 to 12 to stay at home for two weeks, with effect from March 26.

It also ordered the closure of all public and private primary and secondary schools in the state, as part of measures to curtail the spread of the disease.

The government had also suspended burial and wedding ceremonies for two weeks while the number of persons at worship centres and public gatherings has been reduced to not more than 20.

According to the statement, the restriction order also affects night clubs and bars in the state.

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

File Photo: Timi Alaibe

 

The Federal High Court in Owerri, Imo State has dismissed a suit filed by the former Bayelsa governorship aspirant in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Timi Alaibe challenging the emergence of the state governor, Duoye Diri as the legitimate winner of the PDP primaries held on September 3, 2019.

Mr Alaibe 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.

Read Also: Douye Diri Sworn In As Bayelsa Governor

But the court dismissed the suit for lacking in merit, adding that the PDP followed all the constitutional requirements to conduct the primary and subsequent emergence of Diri as the rightful candidate of the party.

The trial judge, Justice Tijani Rigim also ruled that Mr Alaibe shouldn’t have even approached the court in the first instance since PDP had met all the requirements.

Supreme Court Set To Deliver Judgment On APC’s Application For Review

 

The Supreme Court is set to deliver judgment on the application for review filed by the sacked Bayelsa governor-elect, Mr David Lyon and the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Mr Lyon and APC in their applications argued by Afe Babalola SAN and Mr Wole Olanipekun SAN, prayed the court to review and set aside the judgment of February 13 which voided their participation in the November 16 governorship election.

Mr Babalola had in his submissions said that the Supreme Court has inherent powers to set aside its own decision because the judgment which voided the election of his client was a nullity on account of denial of fair hearing of his client.

READ ALSO: UPDATES: Supreme Court Hears Application For Review Of Judgment Sacking Lyon

Mr Olanipekun on his part argued that the apex court erred in law when it invoked section 36 of the Electoral Act to disqualify the APC’s participation in the election when the Federal High Court judgment restored by the Supreme Court did not disqualify the party’s eligibility.

Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tayo Oyetibo, however, informed the apex court that the application by APC and its governorship candidate were a dangerous invitation to the Supreme Court to violate section 285 of the 1999 constitution, for the court to sit on appeal over its own matter.

He further stated that the apex court was right in disqualifying Lyon as the governor-elect because section 187 of the 1999 constitution is clear and unambiguous to the effect that a governorship candidate who has no deputy candidate is not qualified to contest any governorship election in Nigeria.

After taking arguments from parties in the matter, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta announced the stand-down of the matter, adding that the panel would reconvene soon for its decision in the matter.

UPDATES: Supreme Court Hears Application For Review Of Judgment Sacking Lyon

A crowd of lawyers, politicians, and others gather at the Supreme Court in Abuja on January 14, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Supreme Court is currently hearing the application for review of the judgment which sacked the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa state, David Lyon and his deputy, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.

The APC is seeking a reversal of the judgment which disqualified its candidate David Lyon.

Representing Mr Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo is Afe Babalola, who argued that the apex court has the power to set aside its earlier judgment.

He insisted that the application is not for a review of the judgment but to set aside the judgment sacking Mr Lyon who overwhelmingly won the election.

Mr Babalola added that the judgment of the court delivered on February 13, amounts to a denial of fair hearing.

READ ALSO: Court Sentences Olisa Metuh To Seven Years In Prison After Four-Year Trial

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta is presiding and is being assisted by six other judges.

In his final submission, Mr Babalola urged the court to reverse its decision.

Also, Wole Olanipekun representing the APC is asking the apex court to set aside its February 13, 2020 judgment on the ground that the court had no jurisdiction to have entertained the appeal in the first place.

He explained that the suit was first filed at the Federal High Court as a pre-election matter, which is the foundation of the matter that made the appeal get to the apex court.

Mr Olanipekun, therefore, restated his argument that the apex court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

He added that all humans are fallible so it is not beyond the apex court to make a mistake.

Mr Olanipekun also faulted the interpretation of the judgment of the court by INEC which issued a certificate of return to Senator Douye Diri of the PDP, urging the court to grant the application to set aside its earlier judgment.

Counsel to the PDP, Tayo Oyetibo argued that the application by David Lyon is an invitation to violate the nation’s constitution.

He added that it is also an invitation to the court to ‘sit in judgment’ over its earlier decision which must not be allowed while urging the court to summarily dismiss the application.

Mr Oyetoyibo argued that areas were well considered before the apex court arrived at its decision on February 13, insisting that the court cannot change the operative part of any judgment delivered by the apex court which is the final court in the land.

Citing section 22 of the Supreme Court act, Mr Oyetoyibo said “the court has wild powers to make any order including the order asking INEC to withdraw the certificate issued to David Lyon. The order made by the court was not out of order.”

He explained that the facts and justice of the case warranted the decision of the court and there is no error in it whatsoever.

He added that if any error is felt, it can only be addressed in a future case.

Mr Oyetibo insisted that the grant of this application will engender judicial stability as people will now wait for a possible review before acting on any judgment of the apex court.

He urged the court to dismiss the application and not to disturb the status quo.

Yunus Ustaz Usman who is representing Governor Douye Diri aligned himself with the submissions of Mr Oyetibo, insisting that the court cannot make any order outside the judgment, especially after a full-blown trial.

He reaffirmed the finality of the court as the highest of the land, urging the court to dismiss the application in the interest of the overall survival of the country.

Counsel to Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo vehemently opposed the application for a review of the judgment of the apex court and urged the court to dismiss the applications filed by Mr Lyon and the APC for totally lacking in merit.

Chris Uche who is representing Mr Ewhrudjakpo argued that the Supreme court lacks the power to sit on appeal over any judgment delivered by the court.

He added that it is a case of outright abuse of court process, stating that the court must ‘jealously’ guard its judgments otherwise, there will be a floodgate of applications for review which will lead to a bastardization of the judicial process.

He urged the court to resist the dangerous invitation to violate the nation’s constitution.

Present to witness the proceeding is the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole.

Also in the court is the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Douye Diri and the sacked deputy governor-elect, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.

The court has risen, to resume later to deliver judgment.

Court resumes session as Justice Amina Augie is reading the judgment.

The apex court has dismissed the application, saying it is lacking in merit.

Justice Augie added that the decisions of the court are final.

She added that the applicants failed to point out errors, stating that the judgment is final for all ages.

The apex court judge said the judgment is final in the ‘real sense’ and no court on earth can review the judgment.

She added that the applications are frivolous and vexatious, and awarded the cost of N10 million against the applicants to be personally paid by their counsel.

Police Impose Three-Day Curfew After Violence In Bayelsa

 

The Police in Bayelsa state have imposed three-day dusk to dawn curfew after angry All Progressive Congress (APC) protesters destroyed properties following the Supreme Court ruling which sacked the party’s elected candidate, David Lyon, and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.

According to the Commissioner of Police in the state, Uche Anozia, who made the announcement on Friday, the curfew will last between 8pm – 6am.

Some Angry group occupied major streets and the Government House on Friday morning, armed with APC flags and bearing placards, protesting the ruling of the apex court.

 

 

RELATED: ‘No Lyon, No Bayelsa,’ APC Members Protest At Government House

PHOTOS: Protesters Destroy Properties At Bayelsa PDP Secretariat

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat in Yenagoa was also not spared as the angry protesters attacked the building destroying properties.

They also stormed the private residence of the former governor of the state, Seriake Dickson, destroying properties belonging to the family of Mr Dickson, and the Bayelsa Broadcasting Corporation and destroyed 10 vehicles and properties.

 

 

The protesting members also called for a review of the Supreme court judgement which sacked David Lyon as Bayelsa State governor-elect.

The attacks follow the issuance of Certificate of Return to Senator Douye Diri of the PDP by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, on Friday.

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.

PHOTOS: Protesters Destroy Properties At Bayelsa PDP Secretariat

 

Some angry protesters suspected to be loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday attacked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, destroying properties.

The attack follows the issuance of Certificate of Return to Senator Douye Diri of the PDP by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, on Friday.

Diri was issued the certificate of return following the Supreme Court ruling which sacked APC candidate, David Lyon as Bayelsa State governor-elect.

READ ALSO: Bayelsa Poll: Why We Declared Douye Diri As Winner After Supreme Court Ruling – INEC

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.

See photos from the secretariat below…

PHOTOS: PDP’s Diri Presented Certificate Of Return As Bayelsa Governor-Elect

Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) receives the Certificate of Return as the governor-elect of Bayelsa State at the INEC headquarters in Abuja on February 14, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has received the Certificate of Return as the governor-elect of Bayelsa State.

He was presented with the certificate on Friday at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja.

 

This comes a day after the Supreme Court sack Mr David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and ordered the electoral body to withdraw the Certificate of Return earlier issued to him.

Senator Diri’s running mate in the November 16, 2019 poll, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, also received the Certificate of Return as the deputy governor-elect of the state.

See the photos below:

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, addressing a press conference in Abuja on February 14, 2020. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) receives the Certificate of Return as the governor-elect of Bayelsa State at the INEC headquarters in Abuja on February 14, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.
Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo receives the Certificate of Return as the deputy governor-elect of Bayelsa State at the INEC headquarters in Abuja on February 14, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

Bayelsa Poll: Why We Declared Douye Diri As Winner After Supreme Court Ruling – INEC

Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the INEC headquarters in Abuja on February 14, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday declared Senator Douye Diri as the winner of the governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Senator Diri contested the election held on November 16 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Days later, INEC had returned elected the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), David Lyon, but the Supreme Court nullified his election on Thursday.

 

The verdict of the apex court triggered shock and disapproval from the APC camp as PDP supporters took to the streets in jubilation.

Amid various interpretations of the decision of the Supreme Court, the electoral umpire said it had received the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, addressing a press conference in Abuja on February 14, 2020. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who addressed a press conference at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, explained how they arrived at the decision to declare Senator Diri as the winner of the exercise.

Read the full text of the INEC chairman’s briefing below:

MEDIA BRIEFING BY THE CHAIRMAN INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION INEC PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU ON THE JUDGEMENT OF THE SUPREME COURT ON THE BAYELSA GOVERNORSIIIP ELECTION HELD AT THE CONFERENCE ROOM, INEC HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA ON FRIDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2020.

Honourable National Commissioners Secretary to the Commission

Directors The Media Ladies and Gentlemen

I welcome you all to this briefing. As you are aware, the Supreme Court of Nigeria yesterday delivered a judgement in a pre-election suit on the Bayelsa State Governorship election held on 16‘“ November 2019.

The Commission has received the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement of the apex court which disqualified the Deputy Governorship candidate and vitiated the joint ticket of the party earlier declared winner in the election.

The Court also ordered the Commission to “…declare as winner of the Governorship election in Bayelsa State the candidate with the highest number of lawful votes cast with the requisite constitutional (or geographical spread)”.

In compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court, the Commission met this morning and reviewed the result of the election in which 45 political parties contested.

Without the votes scored by the All Progressives Congress (APC), whose candidates were deemed not to have participated in the election, the total number of lawful and valid votes cast in the election now stands at 146,999.

Out of this figure, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored the highest number of lawful votes with 143,172.

Similarly, the Party has scored more than 25% of the lawful votes cast in all the eight (8) Local Government Areas of the State.

Furthermore, the total number of registered voters in places where election was not held or cancelled as a result of sundry violations is 90,822.

The candidate of the Accord party has the next highest score with 1,339 votes.

The margin of lead between the candidates of the PDP and the Accord party is 141,833 votes. With this outcome, the election is conclusive at first ballot.

Consequently, Senator Douye Diri AND Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of the PDP are hereby declared winners and returned elected as Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively.

The detailed result will be shared with you at this briefing and uploaded on the Commission’s website and social media platforms shortly.

The Commission is aware that the tenure of the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State ends at midnight today Friday 14th February 2020.

Therefore, in fulfilment of the requirement of Section 75 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) the Certificates of Return to the Governor and Deputy Governor-elect will be presented to them immediately as ordered by the Supreme Court.

400 Civil Society Groups Endorse Governor Dickson

dicksonOver 400 coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and Civil Society Groups under the ‘Save Bayelsa Movement’ have mobilised support for Governor Seriake Dickson at a rally.

The groups gathered at the Peace Park on Monday in Yenagoa, to endorse the candidature of the Governor and canvass support for him in the December 5 governorship elections.

Governor Dickson, who arrived the venue amidst dancing and singing from cheering youths, said the rally showed the confidence of the groups in his administration.

Commending the efforts of Governor Dickson-led administration, especially in the areas of peace and security, education, primary health care and job creation; the groups said these necessitated their call for his re-election.

While describing the developmental strides of the present administration as unprecedented, the groups said that if Dickson could achieve so much in less than four years in office,  Bayelsa would be ranked as one of the best among the comity of states when given another opportunity.

“People should ask the APC and its flag bearer to show their achievements while in office as the third civilian governor of the state in spite of the huge allocation from the Federation Account.

“With these numerous achievements, we, the members of the NGO and Civil Society Groups have no option than to queue behind Governor Dickson on December 5”, they maintained.

‘No Room For Rigging’

In their goodwill message, the Deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (Rtd), the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Honourable Komobowei Benson and the Member representing Yenagoa/Kolukuma Opokuma Local Government Area in the Federal House of Assembly, Hon Douye Diri, said that the present administration in the last couple of years had made huge investment in security, which, they noted was a prerequisite for development.

According to them, the government has also created access to rural areas as evident in the construction of multi-billion Naira Ogbia-Nembe road, Sagbama-Ekeremor Agge road and Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road.

While responding, the State Governor expressed appreciation to the organisers of the rally, describing the event as heartwarming.

Governor Dickson said that his administration owe posterity a legacy of sustainable development, secure future and human capacity development which have been the cardinal objectives of the restoration government.

He, however, urged Bayelsans to ensure they would vote massively for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

While thanking the people of the state for their support over the past three and half years, Governor Dickson said the coming election would be conducted on a one man, one vote basis, submitting that there will not be room for rigging.