© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
APC has no guber candidate in Bayelsa poll, court rules two days to election
LESS than two days to the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State, a federal high court has disqualified the All Progressives Congress from participating in the Saturday, November 16 poll.
Justice Jane Inyang gave the ruling during a court sitting at Yenogoa, the state capital, on Thursday that challenged the victory of David Lyon during the party primaries.
Heineken Lokpobiri, a former minister of state for agriculture who also contested for the governorship seat during the APC primaries had filed a lawsuit praying to be declared the party governorship candidate.
Lokpobiri claimed that he was the real candidate of the APC.
As part of the judgement on Thursday, the court nullified Lyon’s victory. And it added that the party had no candidate for the forthcoming election.
“The court pronounced that the governorship primary conducted by the APC in Bayelsa State was not done in compliance with the guidelines and the constitution of the party, and, therefore, the party has no candidate,” Lokpobiri’s lawyer, Fitzgerald Olorogun, told reporters immediately after the court ruling.
The lawyer noted that the court rule was not part of his client prayers. “It’s strange,” he said.
When asked what was the next action for the client, he said the needful would be done. “But for now, the pronouncement of the court is that APC has no candidate.”
Last Thursday, Lokpobiri was quoted to be urging the people of Bayelsa to vote for the APC in the November 16 election, despite the court case against Lyon and the party.
“I’m a very strong member of APC and I came today to formally tell our chairman and to speak to Nigerians, in particular, the electorate in Bayelsa that all of them should vote for APC regardless of what happens in the court case in which judgment is slated for Nov. 14, 2019,” he said in Abuja after a courtesy visit on the national chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole.
“I told my supporters even before I came here that no matter what happened, I will remain in APC having served as a minister under this administration.
“There is no way the outcome of the governorship primaries will make me leave APC. We are working and campaigning at different levels.
“I always advise that anybody that is grieved, the only place to go is the court.
“So, whatever happens in the matter that is pending in court will not be an infraction on any part of our party’s constitution,” he said.
Earlier in the week, a high court in Abuja had disqualified Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, Deputy Governor candidate of the APC over conflicting information submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The case filed by the Peoples Democratic Party showed that Degi-Eremienyo had five different names on five different documents.