• Friday, June 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

Tribunal annuls Bayelsa governorship election, orders fresh poll in 90 days

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The Bayelsa State governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja on Monday annulled the election of Duoye Diri as governor of Bayelsa state.

The tribunal held that the November 16, 2019 governorship poll that brought Diri to power was unlawful due to the exclusion of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) and its candidate from the election.

It ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in Bayelsa within 90 days.

The judgment followed a petition by King George, candidate of the ANDP, who had asked the tribunal to cancel the November 16, 2019 governorship election because he was excluded from it.

INEC had explained that it excluded ANDP from the elections because David Esinkuma, 34, the party’s initial deputy governorship candidate, did not meet the age requirement of 35 years to contest in elections.

But ANDP had submitted that Esinkuma was duly substituted within the allowed timeframe following his disqualification by INEC.

The party, therefore, prayed the tribunal to order for a fresh conduct of the poll.

On Saturday, a three-man panel of the tribunal had dismissed three petitions challenging the election on the grounds of incompetence and lacking merit.

But delivering judgment on the ANDP’s petition on Monday, Yunusa Musa, the judge who read the judgement, granted the prayer and asked INEC to conduct a fresh election in Bayelsa within 90 days.

Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was sworn in as governor after the Supreme Court sacked David Lyon as governor-elect 24 hours before his inauguration.

The apex court based its rulings on the premise that Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, running mate of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), presented forged certificates to INEC.