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Updated: APC rejects presentation of Certificate of Return to Diri, Ewhrujakpo

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the presentation of Certificate of Return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), candidates, Duoye Diri and his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrujakpo as validly elected Governor of Bayelsa State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Adams Oshiomhole, APC National Chairman while briefing journalists in Abuja said INEC failed to comply with the Supreme Court that conditional order that it should issued Certificate of Return to the second candidate with the highest number of vote and the required constitutional spread.

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According to him, the Supreme court insisted on constitutional spread in recognition of the fact that the constitution does not want a situation in which anyone,  governor or president presides over the affairs of a state without at least enjoying two third support of electorate of that state.

Oshiomhole noted that the votes scored by PDP and its candidate in that election only met requirement in five local governments and he needs six local governments to meet the requirement of two third.

He said: “PDP candidate did not satisfy this requirement. INEC is now choosing to appropriate the judicial powers of the court to interpret laws that is neither competent to do nor has the mandate so to do.

“INEC fails to recognize that its responsibility does not include legal interpretation and the Supreme Court did not ask INEC to go and begin to assume the judicial powers.  All what INEC needs to do is simple arithmetic,  who has the next highest votes?  Does such person has a required vote spread?  If the answer is no INEC can do no more. Now INEC has decided to assume that the case of Bayelsa is exactly the same case as that of Zamfara”.

Oshiomhole insisted that APC would seek legal redress, stressing that INEC was in contempt of the decision of the Supreme Court.

“We are going to deploy every legal means to upturn the imposition by INEC that intend to weakened and destroy the fabrics of democracy. Briefly put, we are going to Court and we will seek legal redress.

“We recognize that having purported to have sworn in or issued certificate to PDP candidate,  we still believe that there are viable legal widows that we will be explore.  We affirm our confidence in the judiciary even with pains in our hearts.

“If it were the intention of the Supreme Court to nullify or to declare the votes casted in favour of APC as wasted, the Supreme Court should have said so. INEC can not import into the judgement or delete anything into judgement. We have of course recognised that having now purported to have issue Certificate of Return to the PDP, we still believe that there are viable legal windows that we will explore”, the APC National Chairman stated.

While absorbing the Supreme Court of indictment, Oshiomhole said: “we still affirm our confidence in the judiciary even with the pains in our hearts because we still recognize that in a democracy we just can have judiciary that gives judgement that sometimes you are happy with and some other times you are not happy.

“What we quarrel with today is not the judgement of Supreme Court. What we got aggrieved is the attempt by INEC to constitute itself into a Court and appropriate judicial powers which the Constitution of Nigeria never vested in INEC.

“So we want to put the people of Nigeria on notice and in particular our people in Bayelsa to maintain the peace. We will however sustain the legal processes to ensure that nobody hide under any judicial power to impose minority votes in Bayelsa State. Democracy is a game of numbers. It could not have been the intention of the Supreme Court that the man who did not have the spread be sworn-in as a Governor. That was why the Supreme Court made that conditional provision and INEC come in now declared somebody that did not meet that condition”.

James Kwen, Abuja

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