Bayelsa Guber Verdict: I HAVE INSTRUCTED MY LAWYERS TO APPEAL TRIBUNAL RULING – Gov. Diri

Governor Douye Diri

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has 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.

Daniel Alabrah, Acting Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa Governor, disclosed in a press release, issued on
August 17, 2020, that 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.

His words: “We trust in the judiciary and we are appealing the judgement. With God on our side, we will get justice.

“This is a court of first instance and I have instructed our lawyers to file an appeal. We have a right of appeal even up to the Supreme Court.”

The governor urged members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his supporters not to panic and to continue to remain calm and law-abiding.

Recall that the Bayelsa state governorship election tribunal sitting in Abuja annulled the election of Duoye Diri, governor of Bayelsa state, on Monday, August 17th, 2020.

The case has its Petitioners as Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party [ANDP], Hon. Lucky King-George, Mr. Daid Peter Esinkuma and Miss Inowei Janet and they had asked the tribunal to cancel the election because the party was excluded from the November 16, 2019 governorship poll.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had explained that it excluded ANDP from the elections because David Esinkuma (34-years old), the party’s initial deputy governorship candidate, did not meet the age requirement of 35 years to contest in elections.

But ANDP had submitted that Esinkuma was duly substituted within the allowed time frame, following his disqualification by INEC.

The party, therefore, prayed the tribunal to order for a fresh conduct of the poll.

In a majority judgment delivered by Justice Yunusa Musa in the petition filed by the Advance National Democratic Party, the tribunal held that the Independent National Electoral Commission unlawfully excluded the party from the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.

Justice Musa in his response said that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insists that the petition of the ANDP stands.

He also ruled that only a court has the power to disqualify any candidate for any election and that the petition was filed within the 21 days which is the stipulated time for petitions to be filed.

Justice Musa describes the action of INEC to exclude the ANDP from the Bayelsa Governorship Election as an illegality and therefore ordered INEC to conduct a fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State within 90 days.

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

However, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo had reportedly, in his own ruling, dismissed the petition on technical grounds.

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