CANCELLATION IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR APC TO RECLAIM ITS MANDATE IN BAYELSA STATE
A great opportunity has greeted the Bayelsa state All Progressive Congress APC to correct the mistake that leads to the disqualification of its candidate, David Lyon on the basis of falsification of credentials by his running mate Degi-Eremieoyo, following the judgment of the Bayelsa state governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja which annulled the election of Duoye Diri, governor of Bayelsa state.
Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was sworn in as governor after the supreme court sacked David Lyon as governor-elect 24 hours before his inauguration.
The apex court based its rulings on the premise that Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, running mate of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), presented forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Lucky King-George, the candidate of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), had asked the tribunal to cancel the election because he was excluded from the November 16, 2019 governorship poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had explained that it excluded ANDP from the elections because David Esinkuma (34-years old), the party’s initial deputy governorship candidate, did not meet the age requirement of 35 years to contest in elections.
But ANDP had submitted that Esinkuma was duly substituted within the allowed time frame, following his disqualification by INEC.
The party, therefore, prayed the tribunal to order for a fresh conduct of the poll.”
Also on Saturday, a three-man panel of the tribunal had dismissed three petitions challenging the election on the grounds of incompetence and lacking merit.
But while delivering judgment on another petition on Monday, the panel held that the election was unlawful due to the exclusion of ANDP and its candidate.
Yunusa Musa, the judge who read the judgment, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in Bayelsa within 90 days.
This development is a renewed hope to the APC family in Bayelsa state and the staunch supporters of David Lyon, an opportunity they should not allow slipping away.
Recall, in 1999 Adamu Muazu of Bauchi State won governorship election but tribunal and later Supreme court ordered a fresh election because his deputy certificate was forged. Adamu Muazu chose another new person as a Deputy, contested, and won.
Muazu eventually governed Bauchi state for 8 years.
And now a similar event is replicating itself in Bayelsa state, David Lyon, APC Candidate of Bayelsa State won governorship election but Court of Appeal, and later, Supreme Court nullified his election because his deputy certificate was forged. And declared Douye Diri of PDP as Governor-elect.
The tribunal asked INEC to conduct a bye-election within 90 days. This ruling indeed came as a shock to the PDP candidate the winner.
Again in 2020, election tribunal has nullified Bayelsa state governorship election due to unlawful exclusion of Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party ANDP and ordered for a fresh one to be organized within 90 days.
This implies that APC can contest in the fresh election according to Section 33 And 35 Of The Electoral Act which clearly states APC Deputy Governorship Candidate In Bayelsa Can Withdraw His Nomination At least 45 Days Before The Elections.
However, APC at this time must be able to substitute another candidate for the deputy governor since a fresh election has been ordered. This is because the reason why the APC governor-elect was disqualified was as a result of the falsification of credentials by his running mate, hence serious scrutiny has to be carried out in bringing a substitute for the fresh election, we can’t afford to lose again.