Few hours to swearing-in as Bayelsa governor, Supreme Court drops David Lyon

The Supreme Court on Thursday nullified the election of Bayelsa State governor-elect, David Lyon and his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, who were already preparing to be inaugurated into office.

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’ candidates as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.

The apex court ordered INEC to issue fresh certificates to the candidates of the party with the next highest votes and with the required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election, which are the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidates.

Justice Ejembi Ekwo, who read the lead judgment of the apex, made the orders after disqualifying the APC’s deputy governorship candidate, Degi-Eremienyo, as a candidate in the election.

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 Degi-Eremienyo’s disqualification had infected the joint ticket with which he and the governorship candidate, Lyon, ran for and won the November 16, 2019 election.

Meanwhile, Senator Douye Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the Bayelsa November governorship election, had stated that he won the  election. He said this at a press briefing in Yenagoa.

Among those present at the media event were Diri’s running mate, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo; PDP’s Vice Chairman, South-South Zone, Emmanuel Ogidi; member of the state House of Assembly, Munalayefa Gibson, representing Ogbia 2; chairman of Ogbia Local Government Council and the governorship candidates of some political parties that participated in the election, among others.

Diri said he was no longer the PDP candidate but the winner of the poll. He said that he should be “addressed properly” as the winner of the governorship poll.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had  declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, David Lyon, as the winner of the election.

INEC’s state Returning Officer, Prof. Faraday Orumwense, who announced the final result of the poll, said Lyon polled 352, 552 votes while Diri got 143, 172 votes.

Lyon won in six local government areas of Brass, Nembe, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw while Diri won in Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma LGAs.

But the PDP candidate said that the figures declared by the commission did not reflect what transpired at the polling units and urged the INEC to declare him as the governor-elect.

Diri said the Situation Room of his campaign organisation monitored the voting in all the local government areas and wards of the state.

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