The All Progressives Congress (APC) has approached the Supreme Court for a review of its Judgement that sacked its candidate, David Lyon as Bayelsa’s Governor-Elect.
Lyon’s sack came less than 24-hours to his inauguration as the Apex court ruled that his running-mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo presented false information to INEC in aid of his qualification for the November 16 governorship election in the State.
The Justice Mary-Odili led Panel also ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Diri Douye.
The APC is, however, asking the Supreme Court to review the judgment saying the Apex court amongst other things misinterpreted the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja which it (the apex court) upheld.
In an application filed by its team of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun, the APC said the Supreme Court acted without jurisdiction and denied it a fair hearing when it proceeded to disqualify David Lyon even though the Federal High Court, in the judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo, which the Apex court affirmed, did not grant the plaintiffs’ prayer to disqualify Lyon.
The APC also faulted the interpretation given to the apex court judgment by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in deciding to issue a certificate of return to Douye Diri, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“After reinstating the judgment of the trial court in the judgment of this honorable court of the 13th February 2020, in SC.1/2020 People’s Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 Ors., this honourable court proceeded to disqualify the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon David Pereworimin) even though the trial High Court refused to grant the reliefs for his disqualification and there was no appeal against the same.
“In this honorable court’s judgment of 13th February 2020, the court erroneously and inadvertently stated that the trial High Court consequentially disqualified the applicant‘s governorship candidate even though the trial court made no such order and when the trial court indeed refused to grant the express orders sought by the plaintiffs therein for his disqualification.”
According to the APC, “It was wrong for the Supreme Court to have nullified David Lyon’s participation in the election, when, the earlier ruling by the Federal High Court, disqualifying his deputy governorship candidate, stayed as when the election was conducted”.
Shortly after the ruling by the Supreme Court judgment, the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole held a press conference where he declared that there will not be any government in Bayelsa State the following day as the PDP did not secure the widespread for criteria to be declared the winner.
— RootsTv (@rootstvnigeria) February 13, 2020
“From tomorrow, there will be no government in Bayelsa state because based on the court judgment, the next winner does not even have one-quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the local governments; so which means based on the constitution, no one can be sworn-in as governor of Bayelsa state tomorrow. “Although, as a political party, we respect the rules of laws and judgment and that is why we have asked our lawyers to explore all legal devices in making sure Bayelsans gets their mandate.”
The comment by the APC National Chairman was said to have triggered some pockets of violence in Bayelsa State which led to the Police declaring dusk to dawn curfew in the State.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) insisted that Oshiomole should be held responsible saying it was his comment that incited the violence.
The PDP in a statement from its national spokesperson, Kola Ologbodiyan said:
“The violence and arson being perpetrated by the APC agents in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital, on Friday, was in furtherance of Oshiomhole’s inciting call that no governor would be sworn-in in Bayelsa state, contrary to the judgment of the Supreme Court”.
Ologbodiyan said Oshiomhole’s statement was a call to sedition and violent subversion of the 1999 Constitution, the statutory authority of the Supreme Court and the mandate of the people of Bayelsa state.
Does APC Stand a Chance?
While the All Progressives Congress (APC) holds the belief that its appeal could make the apex court reversed itself on the earlier judgment was given, its erstwhile National Legal Adviser, Muiz Banire stood with the decision of the Supreme Court.
Speaking on the prism of law in its weekly column of The Sun Newspaper, Banire said, “as a matter of fact, by Section 31(1) of the Electoral Act (as amended), once a political party submits its list of candidates to INEC, following the statutory stipulations, INEC does not have the power to reject or disqualify candidates for any reason whatsoever. Thus, it is expected that the leadership of each the political party carry out diligent verification of her candidates’ credentials, apart from integrity and fitness into the manifesto of the party criteria.
“Where a political party fails in the screening of the candidates and presents an unqualified candidate, the sanction is not only disqualification but also the penalty of N500, 000, which the Supreme Court probably forgot to impose on the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Bayelsa case. In the circumstance of this nature, therefore, rather than the ranting and unremarkable volte-face of the all-knowing national chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole, who a few weeks ago was full of praises for the Supreme Court after its decision on the Imo State governorship election, one would have expected the party to embark on a careful post-mortem of its process that led to the presentation of the unqualified candidate in Bayelsa, even after the Federal High Court’s verdict.” He wrote.