The Nigerian Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) in the Bayelsa State gubernatorial election be sworn in as duly elected governor of the state. It sacked David Lyon, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who recently went on a celebratory tour in Aso Rock, meeting President Muhammadu Buhari and blasting pictures on the Internet.
A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the All Progressives Congress candidate as the winner of the November 16, 2019, governorship election in the state.
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, a condition that fell on the shoulders of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Douye Diri.
Local television station, Channels, reported that Justice Ejembi Ekwo, who read the lead judgment made the orders after disqualifying the APC’s deputy governorship candidate, Degi-Eremienyo, as a candidate in the election.
It said the court upheld the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had disqualified Degi-Eremienyo in the election for submitting forged certificates to INEC.
“The court ruled that Mister Degi-Eremienyo’s disqualification had infected the joint ticket with which he and the governorship candidate, Lyon, ran for and won November 16, 2019.
The five-man panel further held that on the basis of that both candidates and their party, the APC ought to have abstained from participating in the election,” the report said.
Douye Diri Must Now Unite All Bayelsans And Heal The State – Atiku
In his reaction, Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, called on the new Governor-elect to unite all Bayelsans.
He said: “I received the verdict of the Supreme Court, declaring the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Bayelsa state gubernatorial elections, Senator Douye Diri, as the duly elected Governor of the state, with gladness.
“Senator Douye Diri had cause to visit me before the elections, and received my blessings and counsel. I am fully satisfied that he has what it takes to make Bayelsa the ‘glory of all lands’. His intellect, personality and character, are a credit to Bayelsa and the PDP.
“I congratulate Senator Douye Diri and his running mate, Mr. Lawrence Ewhrujakpor. I also felicitate with the Peoples Democratic Party. The Lords Justices have given us another opportunity to show Nigerians that power belongs to the people, and we must make good use of this opportunity.
“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.
“Finally, I urge the Supreme Court to show consistency in its judgments and 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”.