he National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), demanding a fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The Supreme Court had, last Thursday, nullified the election of the APC governor-elect, David Lyon, in the November 12, 2019, on account that his deputy, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, was involved in certificate forgery.
In the judgement, the apex court asked INEC to issue certificate of return to candidate of the party with the next highest number of lawful votes and with the required geographical spread in the election.
But the APC National Chairman had argued that with the Supreme Court’s directives to INEC, no candidate of any political party had the geographical spread as requested by the apex court.
Hence, he said no governor would be sworn in on Friday.
However, INEC issued a Certificate of Return (CoR) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Doure Diri and he was sworn in as Bayelsa State governor with his running mate on Friday.
Shortly after Diri’s inauguration, the APC National Chairman accused the electoral body of interpreting judicial pronouncement wrongly.
According to him, the INEC interpreted the judgement of the Supreme Court wrongly to suit them, just as he promised to petition the INEC’s decision.
Consequently, Oshiomhole, at the weekend, petitioned the electoral commission, asking it to reverse its decision on issuing a CoR to PDP candidate and for the commission to conduct a fresh governorship election.
In the petition to INEC, Oshiomhole said: “In the said judgement of the Supreme Court, the candidature of our governorship and deputy governorship candidates were nullified and the commission was ordered to issue fresh certificate of returns with the highest number of votes and with the required geographical spread.
“It is, however, to be noted that the Supreme Court did not void the votes that our party polled at the election and the implication of this is that the votes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) must be reckoned with in determining whether any other candidate polled majority of lawful votes cast in one-quarter of at least two-thirds majority of the state.
“We have reviewed the judgement of the Supreme Court and we are of the firm opinion that the candidates of the PDP cannot be issued certificate of return and or sworn in as the Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively.
“We are aware of that section 179(1)(b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandatorily requires a candidate for an election to the office of governor of a state to have not less than one quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the local government areas in the state before the candidate can be deemed to have been duly elected as the Governor of the State. This mandatory requirement was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the judgement under reference.
“From the results announced and duly published by the commission, it is clear that no candidate meets this mandatory constitutional requirement, including the candidate of the PDP who only managed to poll one quarter of the votes cast in only five local government areas.
“The candidate of the PDP or any other candidate whatsoever, none satisfies the requirement of one quarter of the votes cast in at least 2/3 of the local government areas in the state as required by the Supreme Court judgement. We further request that a fresh election be conducted by the commission for the office of the Governor of Bayelsa State.”