Appeal Court overturns nullification of Diri’s election as Bayelsa governor

THE Court of Appeal has overturned the judgement of the Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the election of Duoye Diri as governor of Bayelsa State.

Diri had approached the appellate court following a majority judgment of the Bayelsa State governorship election tribunal that nullified his election on 12 grounds, due to a petition by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP).

In a unanimous judgement delivered by a five-man panel of the appellate court on Friday, the court held that the Tribunal acted outside its jurisdiction by nullifying the election of Diri as governor of Bayelsa State.

The court said the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) that challenged the governor’s election failed woefully to show that it had a valid candidate that was unlawfully excluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from the election.

It berated the tribunal for ignoring the fact that the petition of ANDP was status barred in addition to the fact that the party presented an unqualified candidate to INEC in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State.

It would be recalled that in its petition, the ANDP claimed that the party was unlawfully excluded from the election.



    The party insisted that its initial deputy governorship candidate, David Esinkuma was duly substituted by the party within the allowed time frame, following the notification from INEC that he was under-age.

    Justice Yunusa Musa, who delivered the lead judgment in the petition against Governor Diri said INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insisted that the petition by the ANDP was valid.

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

    Justice Musa described the action of INEC to exclude the ANDP from the Bayelsa governorship election as illegal, hence leading to the decision to nullify Diri’s election.


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