13th February, 2020
*APC Chairman says PDP’s Duoye Diri can’t be sworn-in as Bayelsa governor because he failed to meet the requirements of the constitution
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Thursday said the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s Duoye Diri cannot be sworn in as governor on Friday.
The Supreme Court had nullified the election of David Lyon as governor-elect of Bayelsa and declared Diri winner of the November 2019 governorship election held in the State.
Reacting to the judgment, an angry Oshiomhole said Diri did not meet the required constitutional spread to become governor of Bayelsa State.
According to him, the judgement of the Supreme Court lacked the ingredients of justice, stating that using technicalities to nullify the wish of the people put democracy under threat.
“From the online reports we have read, the Supreme Court ruled that the certificate of return earlier issued to David Lyon be withdrawn and directed INEC to issue a certificate of return to the person who scored the highest votes after Lyon if such a person has the required spread.
“As a political party, we respect the rule and we respect and have confidence in the judiciary. However, this judgement lacks the fruits of justice. For me and our party, at the heart of election is the issue of who did the people actually vote for?
“Is there a case of impersonation on the part of the deputy governor elect? Is there any other person who has come out to claim that name as to raise doubt as to whether this is the deputy governor elect duly elected along with the governor during the Bayelsa governorship election.
“Where justice and democracy thrive on the altar of technicalities, it constitutes danger to our democracy. Nobody has raised issues whether David Lyon and his running mate won overwhelming majority.
“Issues of whether a chieftaincy title is part of a name or not could not be a reason to dismiss the wishes of the great people of Bayelsa state who reposed absolute confidence in the election of David Lyon and his running mate during the last governorship election.
“It is not a state secret. If as the Supreme Court has ruled, David Lyon cannot be sworn in as governor and that the person who has the highest number of vote and spread be sworn in, it simply means that from tomorrow, there will be no government in Bayelsa state,” he said.
According to Oshiomhole, as far as the party was concerned, the next candidate who happened to be a PDP candidate did not have one quarter of the total lawful votes cast in that election in two-third of the eight local government areas in Bayelsa State.
He said from the facts available to the APC and in consultations with its lawyer, it was clear that there was no candidate that met the requirements of the law which meant that no one could be sworn in on Friday legally unless there was deliberate abuse of the legal process.
“We have accordingly asked our lawyers to look at all the windows that exist in law and take steps to ensure that the will of the people of Bayelsa state is not undermined on the whims of technicalities.”
Oshiomhole drew attention to a similar incident in 1999 when the same Supreme Court ordered a fresh election after nullifying the election of former Governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Muazu.
He added in a report by the Nation that : “When judges make judgements, they are published and there are those ones that laymen can understand. In 1999, there was a similar case in Bauchi involving Governor Adamu Muazu.
“The court found that his running mate was not qualified to contest the election and the Supreme Court nullified the election of Adamu Muazu and directed INEC to conduct a fresh election.
“I believe it is the same Supreme Court and therefore, we have asked our lawyers to explore all legal windows to ensure that Bayelsa people are not denied their wishes.