Another candidate seeks cancellation of Bayelsa governorship election

Bayelsa Governor Douye Diri,
Bayelsa Governor Douye Diri

The legal battle over the 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa is far from over for now, as a governorship candidate of another political party has gone to court to seek the cancellation of the election.

The All Progressive Congress (APC) earlier called for fresh election in the state after the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Douye Diri, was sworn in as governor.

Mr Diri became governor after the Supreme Court sacked the candidate of the APC, David Lyon, who won the November 16 governorship election.

The apex court had declared that Mr Lyon’s deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the election.

The governorship candidate of Liberation Movement in the election, Vijah Opuama, Friday filed a petition before the election tribunal in Abuja, claiming that the PDP did not have a “qualified” candidate in the election.

Mr Opuma scored 100 votes out of the 146,999 votes recorded in the governorship election, according to the result announced by INEC. His political party is among the 74 parties deregistered by INEC recently.

Mr Opuama claimed in his petition that Mr Diri’s deputy, Lawrence Ewrujakpor, presented forged university certificate and the National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate (NYSC) to INEC before the conduct of the election.

Mr Opuama also said that both Mr Diri and Mr Ewrujakpor were not qualified to contest the election because of “invalid multiple nomination”.

The PDP, INEC, Mr Diri and Mr Ewrujakpor are respondents in the case.

No date has been fixed yet for the hearing of the petition.

The APC, in a letter to INEC a few days ago, said the swearing-in of Mr Diri as Bayelsa governor was “unconstitutional” and that the election commission should conduct fresh election in the state.

“The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party or any other candidate whatsoever, none satisfies the requirement of one quarter of the votes cast in at least 2/3 of the local government areas in the state as required by the supreme court judgement further request that a fresh election be conducted by the commission for the office of the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State,” APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said in the letter to INEC.

INEC, however, said Mr Diri met the constitutional requirement to be sworn in as governor.

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