…over certificate forgery …orders INEC to issue Certificate of Return to PDP’s Diri
Less than 24 hours to his official inauguration, the Supreme Court yesterday sacked David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the Governor-elect for Bayelsa State.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgement, nullified and set aside the nomination and participation of Lyon and his running mate, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo in the November 16, 2019 governorship election.
The apex court’s decision ended the ambition of the federal ruling party to govern the oil-rich Bayelsa State. The state has been governed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the return of democracy in 1999.
In the judgement delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, the apex court held that the running mate to the governor-elect forged certificates to secure clearance for APC deputy governorship ticket.
Justice Eko, in the verdict that lasted about 30 minutes, held that it was established from the documents submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the deputy governor-elect forged certificates and fraudulently used different names when it suits him.
The apex court further held that the deputy governor-elect and his political party, APC, did not dispute the fact deposed to by the appellant that the multiple names were clearly and fraudulently used in the form CF001 submitted to the electoral body.
Justice Eko, who revealed different names on the primary school leaving certificate, General Certificate of Education (GCE), first degree, NYSC discharge certificate and the Masters degree, which bore different names, said he did not approach lawful authorities to correct the multiple names on the certificates.
The apex court also held that an affidavit of regularisation of names purportedly done by the deputy governor-elect and published in the Chronicle newspaper was a futile attempt to justify the multiplicity of names submitted to INEC and contained on the certificates.
The Supreme Court, therefore, came to the conclusion that the primary school certificate obtained in 1976; GCE, 1984; first degree, 1990 and others were products of forgery and that the deputy governor-elect violated section 182 of the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Eko upheld the judgement of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja that the case of forgery has been established going by the documents presented by Degi-Eremienyo with various names.
The Federal High Court Judge was commended for his brilliant findings in his judgement which was restored by the apex court as a product of good judgement.
The judgement of the Court of Appeal, which held that a case of forgery was not established against Degi-Eremienyo, was set aside for being pervasive.
The court, therefore, voided the joint ticket of David Lyon and his running mate and set aside their participation in the November Bayelsa governorship election.
Justice Eko ordered that the certificate of return already issued to the governor-elect by INEC be withdrawn immediately and that a fresh one be issued to the candidate who scored the second highest number of lawful votes with geographical spread and with requisite qualification.
According him, “There was no evidence to prove that the documents with different name variations were his.
“I further hold that the information given by the 3rd defendant on Form CF001 that the documents thereto attached as his have not, by any iota of credible evidence, been so established.
“The information is false in all material particular as none of the said documents have any nexus with the name of the 3rd defendant (Degi-Eremienyo) on the said Form CF001.
“The information which the 3rd defendant submitted to the 2nd defendant in his INEC Form CF001, that affidavit in support of personal particulars of person seeking election to the office of the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State is false contrary to section 31(5) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).
“Based on the above, the victory of the APC candidate and his running mate is hereby nullified.”
New Telegraph recalls that Justice Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had, on November 12, disqualified the deputy governor-elect for allegedly supplying false information to INEC as part of requirement for the governorship poll.
In a judgement, Justice Ekwo said Senator Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and went ahead to depose to an affidavit to correct the discrepancies.
The judge held that all his documents bore different names.
The trial court also held that the names on the different documents attached to his Form CF001 were said to be, Biobarakum Degi-Eremienyo, Degi Biobaragha, Degi Biobarakuma, Adegi Biobakunmo, Degi-Eremienyo Wangagha.
The APC candidate was said to have claimed to have obtained “his First School Leaving Certificate in 1976” and presented to INEC “a First Leaving School Certificate of one Degi Biobaragha other than the one bearing his name, Biobaragha Degi-Eremieoyo, as shown in his INEC Form CF001.”
He was also said to have claimed to have “obtained his West African Examinations Council General Certificate of Education in 1984” and presented to INEC, “a GCE certificate of one Adegi Bibakuo other than the one bearing his name, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo as shown in his INEC Form CF001.”
Justice Ekwo held that there was no evidence to prove that the documents with different name variations were his.