The All Progressives Congress has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in Bayelsa state following the ruling of the Supreme Court nullifying the election of the party’s candidate, David Lyon.
Although, Lyon was declared winner of the November 16 gubernatorial election in the state in 2019, the apex court on Thursday, February 13, 2020, nullified his election on the ground that his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eriemienyo presented false documents to INEC for the election.
The court also asked INEC to issue certificates of return to candidates of the party with the next highest number of lawful votes and with the required constitutional geographical spread in the election.
Following the court’s verdict, the commission declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Douye Diri as the governor-elect.
However, in a letter written to the commission, the National Chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole told INEC that Diri did not meet the requirement.
He therefore, asked the commission to conduct a fresh election in the state.
The letter reads, ‘‘In the said judgement of the Supreme Court, the candidature of our governorship and deputy governorship candidates were nullified and the commission was ordered to issue fresh certificate of returns with the highest number of votes and with the required geographical spread.
‘’It is however to be noted that the Supreme Court did not void the votes that our party polled at the election and the implication of this is that the votes of the All Progressives Congress must be reckoned with in determining whether any other candidate polled majority of lawful votes cast in one-quarter of at least two thirds majority of the state.
‘‘We have reviewed the judgement of the Supreme Court and we are of the firm opinion that the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party cannot be issued certificate of return and or sworn in as the Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively.
‘‘We are aware of that section 179(1)(b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandatorily requires a candidate for an election to the office of governor of a state to have not less than one quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two thirds of all the local government areas in the state before the candidate can be deemed to have been duly elected as the Governor of the State. This mandatory requirement was affirmed by the supreme court in the judgement under reference.
“From the results announced and duly published by the commission, it is clear that no candidates meet this mandatory constitutional requirement, including the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party who only managed to poll one quarter of the votes cast in only five local government areas.
“The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party or any other candidate whatsoever, none satisfies the requirement of one quarter of the votes cast in at least 2/3 of the local government areas in the state as required by the supreme court judgement further request that a fresh election be conducted by the commission for the office of the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State.”