The Bayelsa State State Government house which knew so much joy just two days ago is now at the ebb of sorrow as the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, on Monday, nullified the election of Governor Duoye Diri.
Monday’s ruling comes two days after the tribunal dismissed three other petitions against the election of Mr Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party. Diri, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was sworn in as governor after the supreme court sacked David Lyonas governor-elect 24 hours before his inauguration.
The Justice Ibrahim Sirajo-led panel voided the outcome of the gubernatorial election that held in the state on November 16, 2019, over the exclusion of one of the registered political parties, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, ANDP, in the contest.
ANDP had in a petition it lodged before the tribunal, contended that it was unlawfully excluded from participating in the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, despite the fact that it fulfilled all the statutory requirements.
The tribunal said it found merit in the petition and consequently nullified the election and ordered INEC to conduct a bye-election in the state within 90 days.
The verdict came barely two days after the tribunal dismissed as lacking in merit, three other petitions that sought to sack governor Diri on the premise that his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, submitted forged NYSC certificate to INEC for the purpose of the election.
The dismissed petitions were brought before the tribunal by Alliance for Democracy, AD, and its candidate, Owei Woniwei, United Peoples Congress, UPC, and its candidate, Ibiene Stephen, as well as that of candidate of the Liberation Movement, LM, Vijah Opuama.
It will be recalled that though Diri of the PDP came second in the governorship election, he was later declared the winner after the Supreme Court, in judgement on February 13, disqualified the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, David Lyon, following discrepancies in documents his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, attached to the Form CF001 he submitted to INEC.
Meanwhile, Duoye Diri has reacted to the Election Tribunal ruling sacking him from his position. Diri said he will appeal Monday’s ruling of the state election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja and has consequently instructed his lawyers to file the necessary papers.”
Governor Diri, who spoke shortly after the tribunal ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wrongly excluded the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) governorship candidate in the November 16, 2009 election, said he has implicit confidence in the judiciary that he would triumph in the end.”
On his part, Hon Seriake Dickson, the immediate past Governor of Bayelsa State, has said that Diri remains the governor of the state until Supreme court decides, urging Bayelsans not be perturbed by the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal which annulled the state Governorship election.
Some concerned Nigeria citizens who responded to the judicial ruling on Social Media frowns at the decisions, describing the judicial system as being confused.