The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters in Bayelsa State are in some wild jubilation over the nullification of the election of the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s candidate, David Lyon, as the governor-elect of the state.
A five-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Odili on Thursday nullified the election of Mr Lyon on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the November 16 governorship election.
With the judgment, the candidate of the PDP in the election, Diri Duoye is expected to be sworn in this Friday, having won the second largest votes in the election.
Channels television, in its news bulletin on Wednesday, showed a video of PDP supporters drumming and dancing at the party secretariat in Yenagoa.
“Winner oooh, winner! Winner ooooh, winner!” the party supporters kept singing as they danced inside a crowded hall.
The video showed another scene, at the Government House Bayelsa, where a crowd of PDP supporters were jubilating, dancing over the development.
The camera caught some of jubilant youth tearing APC flags into pieces.
It is not clear if the flag was hoisted in the Government House or it was brought in from outside.
The Channels news anchor, Olumide Macaulay, described the judgment as “very surprising” and “dramatic” while asking a studio guest, Frank Tie-Tie, for his views on the development.
“It is made all the more dramatic because David Lyon was due to be sworn in less than 24 hours,” Mr Macaulay said.
Mr Tie-Tie, a lawyer, said the Supreme Court took technicality “too far” in the judgment.
“Nigerians are yet to recover from the confusing judgment that the Supreme Court delivered with regards to Imo gubernatorial election which declared Hope Uzodinma governor as against all reasoning. While Nigerians are reeling from that surprising decision, it appears more confusion has been added to the polity by this decision of the Supreme Court,” he said.
“You cannot as a court of justice create a situation that is more confusing when you nullify, throw away the popular mandate of the people simply on the grounds of technicality.
“We are in a country where you actually do not need a certificate to contest an election, it is sufficient if you are able to speak, understand, read and write in English Language, that qualifies you to participate in an election as a candidate.”
Mr Tie-Tie said the judgment was even more worrisome because the certificate in question was not that of the governorship candidate, Mr Lyon, but that of his running mate. “I think there is something faulty here,” he said.
Forgery of education certificate, he said, was not enough grounds to nullify an election.
“You cannot defeat the will of the people,” he added.
Atiku, PDP happy with court judgment
The former Vice President of Nigeria and the 2019 PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said he was glad with the Supreme Court judgment.
“I received the verdict of the Supreme Court, declaring the candidate of the @OfficialPDPNig in the Bayelsa state gubernatorial elections, Senator Douye Diri, as the duly elected Governor of the state, with gladness,” Mr Abubakar tweeted on Wednesday via his personal handle @atiku.
Mr Abubakar said Mr Diri has “what it takes to make Bayelsa the ‘glory of all lands’”.
“I call on all the people of Bayelsa to make peace with the recent past and embrace the future together, united in the mission to transform the state into a haven of peace and prosperity.
“I urge the Supreme Court to show consistency in its judgments & find the resolve to always deliver just-judgments no matter whose ox is gored. The people of Nigeria are behind the apex court in whatever they do to free themselves from the dominance of dictatorial forces,” he added.
The PDP spokesperson in Akwa Ibom state, Ini Ememobong, celebrated the development in a Facebook post.
“Bayelsa returns to the PDP kitty. Congratulations Governor-elect, Bayelsa state, Senator Duoye Diri. Truly God has the final say,” he wrote.