.To hear Motion on Notice Nov 20 .Orders Respondents to be served with Motion on Notice, Court Order
.Judgement good news to Bayelsans, triumph of justice- Sylva
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Thursday cleared the coast for the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, David Lyon and his deputy, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, to contest tomorrow’s gubernatorial election in state.
The Federal High Court in Abuja had on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 disqualified the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, on account of him lying on oath.
The Court of Appeal late on Thursday evening stayed the execution of the judgment of same Federal High Court which disqualified Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Tuesday, November 12, disqualified the Deputy Governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo on account of lying on oath.
According to Justice Ekwo, there are discrepancies in the form CF 001, the Deputy Governorship candidate submitted to INEC for clearance in the 2019 Bayelsa State Governorship poll.
While holding that the INEC’s Form CF001 is a document validated by oath, and “the consequence of lying on oath is grave”, Justice Ekwo subsequently ruled, adding that, “Where a candidate is found to have lied on oath, a court must issue an order disqualifying such a candidate from contesting the election”, and went ahead to disqualify Degi-Eremienyo from the November 16 governorship poll.
According to the law that whatever affects the governor affects his deputy and vis versa, the APC automatically lost its ground in the governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the lower court, Degi-Eremienyo and the governorship candidate of the APC, David Lyon, had approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja division to reverse the decision and allow them to participate in the November 16 governorship poll.
Beside the notice of appeal against Justice Ekwo’s judgment, the appellants had also filed a motion for stay of execution of the said judgment disqualifying the governorship running mate.
The appellate court in its ruling however cleared the coast for the participation of the APC’s candidates in the said election.
The three man panel of Justices led by Justice Stephen Adah granted the motion ex-parte as prayed and stayed the execution of the judgment of the lower court pending the hearing and determination of the appellants’ motion on notice.
The appellants in the ex-parte application argued by their counsel, Mr. Damian Dodo, SAN, prayed the court in the interest of justice grant the request of his clients.
The court after listening to his submissions held: “That the status quo ante bellum which existed on or before the 19th September, 2019 when the suit was filed be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
“An interim order for stay of judgment of the lower court delivered on 12th November, 2019 pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.
“The Motion on Notice to be heard on 20th November, 2019 and the Respondents to be served with the Motion on Notice and copy of the Court Order.
Justice Ekwo had in a judgment delivered on Tuesday ordered Degi-Eremienyo’s disqualification on the grounds that he presented false information about his educational qualifications in his Form CF001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission as a candidate for the 2019 poll.
Reacting to the ruling by the appellate court on Thursday, Minister of State Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, flanked by the governorship candidate, David Lyon, Senator Degi- Eremienyo and Prof. Seiyefa Brisibe, said the judgement was a good news to the people of Bayelsa and a triumph of justice.
He said no trick through the Courts employed by the PDP government in the state would save it from being voted out on Saturday.
Sylva said: “Everyone in Bayelsa including the PDP knows that APC has the majority in Bayelsa and if there is an election today, it is very clear to the blind and very loud to the deaf that the APC will carry the day in Bayelsa because the PDP has mismanaged almost eight years in this state.
“Unfortunately, the PDP has adopted a very strange way of retaining power in Bayelsa State. One of the thing they want to do is to use the court to ensure that APC is stopped from contesting or participating in this election.
“The other way is to unleash violence in Bayelsa and you can see the events of yesterday in Nembe. The PDP went to the peace-loving community of Nembe and unleashed violence. As you already know, the PDP has already concluded their campaign and had their grand finale about a week ago but after bringing the whole country to have their grand finale in Yenagoa, they still went ahead to go to Nembe to campaign.”
The Daily Times recalls that earlier on Thursday, November 14, a Federal High Court in Yenegoa, the Bayelsa State capital, presided over by Justice Jane Inyang had nullified the nomination of Chief David Lyon as the candidate of the APC in a suit filed by Senator Heineken Lokpobiri , one of the aspirants that sought the ticket of the APC.
Inyang held that the primary election conducted by the APC violated the party’s rules and constitution and therefore a nullity in the eyes of the law and restrained INEC from recognising any of the aspirants that participated in the exercise.
In nullifying the APC governorship primary, Justice Inyang observed that according to the APC guidelines for the governorship primaries, the results were expected to be declared by the returning officer, Governor Mai Kala Buni of Yobe State and not Sen. Emmanuel Ochega, who was the secretary of the election committee.
Inyang also held that the APC violated its own rules in the composition of the election panel when it constituted a one-member committee and not a seven –member body as stipulated in the party’s rules.
“It has been established by judicial authorities and several judgments that political parties are bound by their own rules; the committee that conducted the primary threw caution to the winds and it is my ruling that the primaries stand nullified.
“The result announced by Sen. Emmanuel Ochega is not valid as he is not the returning officer for the election. And I make an order restraining INEC from recognising any of the aspirants that participated in the said primaries,” Inyang said.
Lokpobiri had approached the court, to challenge the emergence of David Lyon as the APC governorship candidate in the state and listed as respondents in the case were the APC, Lyon and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Lokpobiri had claimed that he won the September 4 governorship primaries conducted by the APC, using the direct primary mode.
But reacting to the judgement, the APC in the state affirmed that it remains in the race for the election in spite of a court judgement declaring the party’s primaries as null and void.
Speaking, Chairman of Bayelsa State chapter of the APC, Mr. Jothan Amos, said that the party is optimistic of overcoming the setback before Saturday’s poll.
Meanwhile, the police has tasked the people of the state to be peaceful, shun thuggery and ballot box snatching during the November 16 election.
Assistant Inspector General (AIG), Zone 5, Dibal Yakadi, disclosed this in a statement by the Zonal Public Relations Officer (ZPRO), Emeka Iheanacho, in Benin on Thursday.
Yakadi said that the election would be a process of selecting who should preside over the affairs of the state for the next four years.
He, therefore, warned the youths not to engage in vices inimical to the peace and security of the state.
Yakadi also warned political actors and other stakeholders to play by the rules and not see the forthcoming governorship election as a do or die affairs.
“Adequate security arrangement have been put in place to ensure security of life and property during the election.
“Several Police personnel will be deployed to all the polling units, collation centres in the eight Local Government Areas of the state.
He appealed to the residents to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and avoid acts of violence and lawlessness during and after the election.