Bayelsa: Constitutional Lawyer X-Rays Tribunal Judgment, Says APC’ll Not Benefit From Repeat Poll
A constitutional law expert, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, says one of the implications of Monday’s Tribunal nullification of the election of Governor Diri Douye of Bayelsa State is that the All Progressives Congress (APC) remains excluded in the event of a fresh election.
The tribunal, which nullified the election of Douye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election within 90 days.
Douye, who came second in the November 16 governorship election was handed a certificate of return after the Supreme Court in February 2020, sacked the then winner of the poll and Governor-elect, David Lyon of the APC.
Lyon was sacked on the grounds that his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, presented forged certificates to INEC.
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 PDP.
The judgment of the Tribunal followed the petition by the candidate of Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) Lucky King-George, challenging the victory of the governor.
The ANDP claimed that the party was unlawfully excluded from the election.
In a split judgment of two-one, the three-man panel ruled that INEC did not have the power to disqualify any candidate from an election.
But, reacting after the tribunal judgment, Ugochinyere, who is also the spokesman of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) said:
“The judgment of the Bayelsa Governorship Tribunal nullifying the election of Governor Douye Diri, assuming if not vacated by the Supreme Court is that in the event of fresh election, APC is still excluded from participating in view of the supreme court judgment declaring their nomination of David Lyon and his deputy as invalid.
“A fresh election within 90 days as previous courts have held is not an invitation to open fresh nomination or even make substitution because the time frames for that has already been exhausted, but a fresh poll for the purpose of including the excluded candidate to join other validly nominated candidates who met the requirements of nomination before the close of the window for nomination.”
Meanwhile, Govenor Douye had said he would appeal the judgment.