Bayelsa Supreme Court judgment danger to Nigeria’s democracy

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Bayelsa Supreme Court judgment danger to Nigeria's democracy


The All Progressives Congress (APC) has faulted the Supreme Court judgment which sacked its candidate, David Lyon, as the governor-elect of Bayelsa State.
The apex court sacked Mr Lyon on Thursday on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented a false certificate to the electoral body, INEC, in the build-up to the election.
Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had the second-highest number of votes and secured 25 per cent of votes in five of Bayelsa’s eight local governments and is expected to be declared the winner of the November 16 election.
However, the national chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole, said the “judgement lacks the fruits of justice” and was based on mere technicalities which portend “danger to our democracy.
“Where justice and democracy thrive on the altar of technicalities, it constitutes a danger to our democracy. Nobody has raised issues whether David Lyon and his running mates won an overwhelming majority,” he said at the party’s secretariat Thursday evening.
Mr Oshiomhole continued: “PDP candidate does not have one-quarter of the total lawful votes cast in that election in two-thirds of the eight local government areas in Bayelsa State.”
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Mr Oshiomhole vowed to challenge the Supreme Court’s verdict.
“Therefore, from the facts available to us and in due consultation with our lawyers, it is clear that no candidate meets the requirements of the Supreme Court, which means no one can be sworn in legally tomorrow unless there is deliberate attempt to abuse the legal process.
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“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 altar of technicalities,” he said.
He also referred to a similar case in 1999.
“In 1999, there was a similar case in Bauchi involving Governor Adamu Muazu. The court found that his running mate was not qualified for whatever reason to contest that election, and accordingly, the Supreme Court nullified the election of Governor Adamu Muazu and the court as a consequence directed INEC to conduct a fresh election.”
Mr Oshiomhole implored his party’s loyalists and the people of Bayelsa to stay optimistic.

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