Bayelsa will be without a governor from Friday – Oshimhole

Yusuf Bello| The national chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday said that Bayelsa will not have a governor from tomorrow as Duoye Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November governorship election in Bayelsa, will not be sworn in contrary to the Supreme court directive.

Oshiomhole who was responding to Thursday’s judgment by the apex court nullifying the election of David Lyon, APC’s candidate as the governor-elect, said the PDP candidate did not meet the court’s requirement to be sworn in as governor.

According to Oshiomhole, the supreme court directed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Lyon and present another to the candidate, who met the required spread in the election but no candidate in the election that met the requirement apart from Lyon.

The implication, he said, means that Bayelsa will be without a governor from Friday.

Oshimhole said, “Nobody has raised issues about whether or not David Lyon and his running mate won overwhelming majority in the said election. Issues of whether a chieftaincy title is part of a name or is not a name in our view couldn’t be a reason to dismissed the wishes of the great people of Bayelsa state who repose absolute confidence in the way in which they elected David Lyon and his running mate during the last governorship election.”

“Let me also say that it is not a state secret, if as the supreme court has ruled, David Lyon cannot now be sworn in as the person who has the highest number of votes and the spread to be sworn in, it simply means from tomorrow there will be no government in Bayelsa state.

“But, as far as we know the next candidate, as the facts are before the court, who happens to be a PDP candidate does not have one-quarter of the total lawful vote cast in that election in 2/3 of the local government councils in Bayelsa state. And, therefore from the fact available to us, in consultation with our lawyers, it is clear that there is no candidate that meet the requirements of the supreme court, which means no one can be sworn in legally tomorrow unless there is a deliberate abuse of the legal process.

“We have accordingly asked our lawyers to look at all the windows that exist in law, and take steps to ensure that the will of the people of Bayelsa state is not undermined on the alter of technicalities. I am not a lawyer and I don’t need to be one. When judges make judgement they are published and you can read and write. Even laymen like me can understand.”

“In 1999, there was a similar case in Bauchi involving Gov Adamu Muazu. The court found out that the running mate was not qualified for whatever reason to contest that election and accordingly the supreme court nullified the election of Gov Adamu Muazu. And, the court as a consequence directed INEC to conduct a fresh election.”

“I believe it is still the same supreme court and therefore we have asked our lawyers to exploit all lawful legal windows to ensure that Bayelsa people have a governor of their choice.

“Let me say that as bad as the case of Zamfara was, where after we have won the governorship election, senatorial, house of reps and assembly elections, the court held that APC didn’t conduct primary in the state. And, therefore didn’t participate in the election. This one is totally different,” he concluded.

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