Bayelsa gov. election: Suit seeking to disqualify Diri stalled

Douye Diri

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State sworn in for second term

By Taiye Agbaje

A suit seeking the disqualification of Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo from participating in the November 11 governorship election in the state was stalled at a Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday.

The suit was filed less than nine days before the Nov. 11 governorship election in which Diri was reelected governor alongside his deputy by a Bayelsan woman, Blessing Clement Azibanagbal through her lawyer, Nsowu.

She listed Diri, Ewhrudjakpo, PDP and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

The suit sought an order of mandatory injunction, directing INEC to remove the names of Diri and Ewhrudjakpo as PDP’s candidates in the Nov. 11 poll.

It also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC, its agents, privies or whosoever called, from further publishing their names as standard bearers for the party in the forthcoming election in Bayelsa.

It further sought a declaration that Ewhrudjakpo was not qualified to run as deputy governor under the PDP.

Azibanagbal, in the originating summons dated Oct. 26 and filed on Oct. 30, sought a declaration that Ewhrudjakpo was also not qualified to be a running mate with Diri.

Besides, she prayed the court to declare that Ewhrudjakpo had multiple of names without any evidence to proof “that he is the same person.”

Related News

She, therefore, urged the court to declare that the PDP had no candidate in the poll.

But the PDP, in a notice of preliminary objection dated Nov. 28 and filed Nov. 30 through its lawyer, A.K. Ajibade, SAN, prayed the court to dismiss or strike out the suit for being statue-barred.

It also urged the court to dismiss the suit for not disclosing reasonable cause of action against the defendants.

Giving five grounds, the PDP argued that Azibanagbal’s case was founded on pre-election matter and the time prescribed by the constitution to initiate such suit had elapsed.

It argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear and determine a suit that was already statute-barred.

“This honourable court lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine a suit where and when the plaintiff’s suit failed to disclose cause of action and/or reasonable cause of action,” it said.

Justice Emeka Nwite had, on Nov. 3, fixed today (Nov. 30) for the hearing after he granted the ex-parte motion moved by the plaintiff’s counsel, Ifeanyi Nwosu, seeking a leave to serve Diri and Ewhrudjakpo at the Government House in Bayelsa, through courier service.

The matter, which was on number 16 on the cause list before Justice Emeka Nwite, was however fixed for Feb. 19, 2024, for a hearing after it could not proceed today.

Load more