The Bayelsa State Gubernatorial Petition Tribunal has nullified the election of Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State based on a petition filed by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, which argued that it was unlawfully excluded from participating in the election.
Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was sworn in as governor after the Supreme Court sacked David Lyon, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, as governor-elect 24 hours before his inauguration in February. The apex court based its rulings on the premise that Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, running mate of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), presented forged certificates to INEC.
Delivering judgment on Monday, the tribunal panel led by Justice Yunusa Musa ruled that the election was unlawful due to the exclusion of ANDP and its candidate and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in Bayelsa within 90 days.
Diri’s nullification came two days after a three-member panel of the tribunal dismissed three petitions challenging his election as governor.
The judge, S.M. Owoduni, who read the lead judgment of the tribunal held that the petition filed by AD and its candidate, Owei Woniwei, is incompetent and lacks merit.
Justice Owoduni held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegation that Diri’s deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, forged his declaration of age and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharged certificate.
The second petition filed by Ibiene Stephen and his party, UPC and the one filed by the candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM), Vijah Opuama, were also dismissed.
Opuama had filed his petition to challenge the declaration Messrs Diri and Ewhrudjakpo as governor and deputy.
He also alleged that Ewhrudjakpo submitted forged exemption certificate and documents that contain false information to INEC. He is asking the tribunal to cancel the election and order a fresh poll.