Bayelsa Tribunal Verdict: Diri remains Governor pending supreme court decision – Dickson

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The Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Monday has nullified the election of Governor Duoye Diri.

The Justice Mohammed Sirajo-led three-man panel ruled that the election was unlawful due to the exclusion of Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party and its candidate, King George, from the November 16, 2019 governorship election.

The tribunal in a unanimous decision also dismissed the first petition that was filed by the Alliance for Democracy and its candidate, Owei Woniwei, for want of merit.

The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to provide credible evidence that the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, Ewhrudjakpo, tendered forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

In the lead judgment that was read by Justice S.M. Owoduni, the tribunal further held that the petitioners failed to also establish the allegation that Ewhrudjakpo falsified his age.

Describing the case as “unnecessary waste of time of the court”, the tribunal, upheld preliminary objections that Diri, Ewhrudjakpo, and the Peoples Democratic Party lodged to challenge the competence of the petition.

The AD and its candidate had in their petition, alleged that Ewhrudjakpo altered the name on the National Youth Service Corps certificate he presented to INEC for the purpose of the governorship election that held on Nov. 19, 2019.

Reacting to the tribunal verdict, the immediate past Governor òf Bayelsa State, Hon Seriake Dickson has said that Diri remains the governor of the state until Supreme court decides, urging Bayelsans not be perturbed by the judgment of the Election Petition Tribunal which annulled the state Governorship election on Monday.

He described the judgment as a temporary setback which does not in the law affect the status quo until appeal processes are exhausted.

Dickson in a statement by His Media Adviser, Mr Fidelis Soriwei, on Monday noted that the PDP and the government would appeal the judgment and that there is no vacancy in the Bayelsa Government House as Diri remains governor until a final decision on the issue was reached at the Supreme Court.

He said, “I urge Bayelsans to remain calm. They shouldn’t misinterpret what took place at the tribunal today.

“The judgment is a temporary setback which does not have any effect on the status quo until all processes of appeal are exhausted.

“There is no vacancy in the Bayelsa Government House. Diri remains Governor until the Supreme Court decides. “Of course what this means is that the PDP will appeal this decision.”

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