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Despite Diri’s swearing-in, APC writes INEC, argues case for fresh governorship election in Bayelsa

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) calling for a fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State.

This is despite the fact that INEC, in adherence to the Supreme Court ruling has issued a certificate of return to Douye Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who was subsequently sworn-in on Friday as the new governor of the state.

The apex court on Thursday sacked the APC flag bearer, David Lyon, as Bayelsa governor-elect over discrepancies in his running mate’s certificates.

But national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole faulted the declaration and swearing-in of Diri in a letter, to the national chairman of INEC, titled,’ Judgement in Appeal No: SC.1/2020 between Peoples Democratic Party Request for conduct of fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State’.

According to him, the party acknowledged the judgment of the apex court, but noted that the court did not void its party’s votes from the elections, even as he noted that the PDP candidate did not meet the requirement to be declared winner of the election.

He therefore called on INEC to conduct fresh elections to determine who the governor of the state should be.

The letter read in part: ‘’Kindly recall that the Governorship election in Bayelsa State was conducted on the 16th November, 2019 and our great party, the All Progressives Congress, duly participated at the said election. You will also recall that the All Progressives Congress emerged victorious at the election leading to our Lyon David Pereworinimi being declared and returned as winner of the election,’’ the letter reads.
‘’Our attention has been drawn to the judgement of the Supreme Court delivered on 14th February 2020 in the pre-election appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and its governorship as well as deputy governorship,’’ Mr Oshiomhole wrote.

‘‘In the said judgement of the Supreme Court, the candidature of our governorship and deputy governorship candidates were nullified and the commission was ordered to issue fresh certificate of returns with the highest number of votes and with the required geographical spread.

‘’It is however to be noted that the Supreme Court did not void the votes that our party polled at the election and the implication of this is that the votes of the All Progressives Congress must be reckoned with in determining whether any other candidate polled majority of lawful votes cast in one-quarter of at least two thirds majority of the state.

‘‘We have reviewed the judgement of the Supreme Court and we are of the firm opinion that the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party cannot be issued certificate of return and or sworn in as the Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively.

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‘‘We are aware of that section 179(1)(b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandatorily requires a candidate for an election to the office of governor of a state to have not less than one quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two thirds of all the local government areas in the state before the candidate can be deemed to have been duly elected as the Governor of the State. This mandatory requirement was affirmed by the supreme court in the judgement under reference.”

He further noted, that “From the results announced and duly published by the commission, it is clear that no candidates meet this mandatory constitutional requirement, including the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party who only managed to poll one quarter of the votes cast in only five local government areas,” the APC said.

The party said its position is fortified by the fact that there is a condition precedent to the winner being issued a certificate of return.

“The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party or any other candidate whatsoever, none satisfies the requirement of one quarter of the votes cast in at least 2/3 of the local government areas in the state as required by the supreme court judgement further request that a fresh election be conducted by the commission for the office of the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State,” the letter stated.

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