By Ovie Okpare
The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole Has reacted to the judgement of the Supreme Court which sacked the Bayelsa State Governor-elect, David Lyon.
Oshiomhole stated that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator Douye Diri cannot be sworn in on Friday as Bayelsa Governor because he did not meet the requirements of the Supreme Court.
Oshiomhole pointed out the judgement of the Supreme Court said the certificate of return should be issued to the candidate, who has the required spread in the election aside from David Lyon.
According to Oshiomhole, no candidate in the election that met the requirement except the candidate of the APC .
He explained that the implication is that from Friday, Bayelsa will be without a Governor when Governor Seriake Dickson step aside upen completion of his two term tenure.
While saying that the party respects the judiciary, he said the judgement of the Supreme Court lacks the ingredients of justice, stating using technicalities to nullify the wish of the people puts democracy under threat.
Oshiomhole explained: “From the online reports we have read, the Supreme Court ruled that the certificate of return earlier issued to David Lyon be withdrawn and directed INEC to issue a certificate of return to the person who scored the highest votes after Lyon if such a person has the required spread.
“As a political party, we respect the rule and we respect and have confidence in the judiciary. However, this judgement lacks the fruits of justice. For me and our party, at the heart of election is the issue of who did the people actually voted for?
“Is there a case of impersonation on the part of the deputy governor elect? Is there any other person who has come out to claim that name as to raise doubt as to whether this is the deputy governor elect dually elected along with the governor during the Bayelsa governorship election.
“Where justice and democracy thrive on the alter of technicalities, it constitute danger to our democracy. Nobody has raised issues whether David Lyon and his running mates won over whelming majority.
“Issues of whether a chieftaincy title is part of a name or not could not be a reason to dismiss the wishes of the great people of Bayelsa state who reposed absolute confidence in the election of David Lyon and his running mate during the last governorship election.
“It is not a state secret. If as the Supreme Court has ruled, David Lyon cannot be sworn in as governor and that the person who has the highest number of vote and spread be sworn in, it simply means that from tomorrow, there will be no government in Bayelsa state.
“As far as we know, the next candidate who happen to be aa PDP candidate does not have one quarter of the total lawful votes cast in that election in two third of the eight local government areas in Bayelsa state.
“Therefore, from the facts available to us and in consultations with our lawyer, it is clear that there no candidate that meets the requirements of the law which means that no one can be sworn in tomorrow legally unless there is deliberate abuse of the legal process.
“We have accordingly asked our lawyers to look at all the windows that exist in law and take steps to ensure that the will of the people of Bayelsa state is not undermined on the whims of technicalities.”
Oshiomhole drew attention to a similar incident in 1999 when the same Supreme Court ordered a fresh election after nullifying the election of former Governor of Bayelsa state, Adamu Muazu.
He added: “When judges make judgements, they are published and there are those ones that laymen can understand. In 1999, there was a similar case in Bauchi involving Governor Adamu Muazu.
“The court found that his running mate was not qualified to contest the election and the Supreme Court nullified the election of Adamu Muazu and directed INEC to conduct a fresh election.
“I believe it is the same Supreme Court and therefore, we have asked our lawyers to explore all legal windows to ensure that Bayelsa people are not denied their wishes.
“Let me say that bad as the case of Zamfara was where after we have won the elections, the court held that APC did not conduct primaries and therefore did not participate in that election. This one is totally different because proper election was conducted.
“This is not another Zamfara case. The essential ingredients are different and so, the outcome and consequences cannot be the same. We want to assure our members across and Nigerians that we are a law abiding party, we still believe that the will of Bayelsa people will prevail.”
Additional report from The Nation