Truth & justice

Why Tribunal Orders Fresh Bayelsa Governorship Election

The Bayelsa State governorship election tribunal on Monday nullified the election of Governor Douye Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.

In a majority judgment delivered by Justice Yunusa Musa in the petition brought before it by the Advance National Democratic Party (ANDP) the tribunal held that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) unlawfully excluded the party from the governorship election.

It, therefore, ordered INEC to conduct a fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State within 90 days.

It further ordered that the petitioner should be included in the fresh election to be conducted.

The Tribunal had on Saturday dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state, Owei Tongue Woniwei, for being incompetent as it amounts to an academic exercise.

In the judgment delivered by a member of the three-man tribunal, sitting in Abuja, Justice Owodunni held that the tribunal has jurisdiction to hear the petition brought by Woniwei.

The tribunal further held that the state deputy governorSenator Lawrence Owhrudjapko, is eminently qualified to contest the election having fulfilled the provision of Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the alleged error on the certificate was corrected by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which was corroborated by an NYSC Director.

Also, the petitioner did not prove his case therefore the petition was dismissed.

The sum of N200,000 was awarded in favour of all the three respondents except the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The petitioner had in the petition claimed that Owhrudjakpo was not qualified to contest for the position of deputy governor in the November 16, 2019 governorship election, having presented a forged certificate to INEC.

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