S’Court sacks Lyon, Bayelsa governor-elect, a day to his swearing-in

THE Supreme Court on Thursday has sacked governor-elect of Bayelsa state, David Lyon and his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi -Eremieoyo barely 24 hours to his inauguration. 

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Ejembi Ekwo, the court had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Lyon.

A five-man panel of the apex court presided by Justice Mary Peter-Odili had nullified the election of Lyon on the grounds that his deputy, Degi-Eremienyo presented false information to INEC to aid his qualification for the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa state.

Delivering his ruling, Justice Eko ordered the INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo, thereby declaring the party with the highest number of lawful votes and geographical spread, winner of the election.

Hence, the court ordered that the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Diri Duoye be declared governor-elect of the state.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued to encounter loss in some governorship positions owing to the inherent conflicts faced in the party, as seen in Rivers and Zamfara state respectively.

Prior to the November 16 election in Bayelsa, the emergence of Lyon as the flagbearer of the APC governorship candidate was embroiled in controversies, which affected the coherent flow of the election process in the state.

On Tuesday, the supreme court dismissed an appeal filed by Heineken Lokpobiri, a former minister challenging the APC governorship primary election held in the state.

The former minister had approached the Federal High Court in Yenegoa to nullify the candidacy of Lyon in the November 16, elections by declaring him the winner of the APC gubernatorial primaries because the party had submitted Lyon’s name to INEC before his appeal was determined.

The court had affirmed its earlier ruling on the case on November 14, 2019, when it nullified Lyon’s candidacy and ruled out the APC from the gubernatorial contest.

However, the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt upturned the Federal High Court’s decision stating that the appellant had filed his case outside the 14 days window allowed by law.

    Delivering judgment on Lyon’s appeal at the Court of Appeal, the court ruled that the appellant cause of action arose on 4th September when he was not declared the winner and not 7th September.

    Lokpobiri had filed the matter on September 18, outside the 14 days statutory period, which was adjudged by the apex court to have been filed out of time.

    The apex court consequently dismissed the case on the grounds that it lacked merit.

    The power-shift, from the APC to the PDP lifts the flagship of the latter in Bayelsa, where it had maintained leadership for nearly two decades.

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