The Supreme Court has nullified the election victory of Bayelsa Governor-elect, David Lyon, and that of his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.

Lyon was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election. His victory also meant the first time a candidate of the APC would be winning a governorship election in Bayelsa.

Lyon's election victory was nullified because his running mate, Degi-Eremienyo, presented a forged certificate to the electoral commission.

The specifics

The five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili upheld the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which had disqualified Degi-Eremienyo from partaking in the election for submitting forged certificates to INEC.

The court ruled that Degi-Eremienyo’s disqualification had infected the joint ticket with which he and the governorship candidate, Lyon, won the election.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Ejembi Ekwo, the court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Lyon who was declared winner of the November 16, 2019 election.

Senator Douye Diri is the new governor of Bayelsa  [Premium Times]
Senator Douye Diri is the new governor of Bayelsa [Premium Times]

The apex court also ordered that a fresh certificate be issued to the governorship candidate with the highest votes cast and wide geographical spread in the governorship election.

This essentially means that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, Diri Douye, will become the next Governor of Bayelsa.

An inauguration ball that will never be

The verdict arrives 24 hours before Lyon's swearing-in ceremony; which had been billed to hold on Friday, February 14, 2020, at the Samson Siasia sports complex in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital.

The APC in Bayelsa had declared a two-day fasting and prayer session for all party faithful in readiness for the inauguration ceremony and a new administration.

Lyon had also taken to the sports complex days before, to rehearse his swearing-in steps, poise, gait and wave.

Douye will now succeed departing Governor Seriake Dickson (PDP) who had handpicked him and solicited votes for him.