The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday upheld the election of Senator Duoye Diri as the governor of Bayelsa state.
The five-man panel of justices of the appellate court, in its judgment in the appeal filed by Diri and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), set aside the August 17, 2020 judgment of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which annulled Diri’s election and ordered a fresh one within 90 days.
According to the unanimous judgment of the appellate court, the appeal, as filed by governor Diri and his party has merit and was allowed and the court consequently set aside the Judgment of the Tribunal and affirmed the election of Diri as governor of Bayelsa state.
The court held that the exclusion of the ANDP and its candidate by INEC was lawful as the candidate falls short of the requirements for anybody contesting an election, which it held was communicated to the party by the electoral body in good time and they failed to contest it.
The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja in a judgement delivered on August 17, 2020, nullified the election that returned Duoye Diri as governor of Bayelsa State on the ground of unlawful exclusion of the Advanced Nigerian Democratic Party (ANDP) and it’s governorship candidate, King Lucky George.
The ANDP through its national chairman, Charles Ogboli and its candidate filed the petition seeking the nullification of the November 19, 2019 governorship election and order of a fresh election on grounds its party and logo was not included in the ballot papers for the election.
Counsel to ANDP, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN) informed the tribunal that the primary of the party was monitored by INEC, adding that their witnesses, including the commission, admitted that the party was excluded from the election.
The tribunal, in its judgment, annulled the election and ordered that the petitioner (ANDP) should be included in the fresh election to be conducted.
Diri was sworn in as governor after the Supreme Court sacked David Lyon, candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), as governor-elect 24 hours before his inauguration.
The apex court based its rulings on the premise that his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, presented forged certificates to INEC.