Diri cannot be sworn in as Bayelsa gov, Oshiomhole vows
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adam Oshiomhole has said that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the last November governorship election in Bayelsa State would not be issued a Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Supreme Court in a judgment delivered by five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili voided the Certificate of Return given to the APC candidate, David Lyon and ordered the Commission to issue fresh certificate to the candidate of the party with the next highest votes and with the required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election.
Justice Ejembi Ekwo who read the judgment declared that Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo who was running mate to David Lyon presented forged certificates to INEC.
But the Oshiomhole at a press briefing gave a different interpretation to the verdict of the apex court. He said nobody would be issued a Certificate of Return by INEC as he claimed that aside from his party candidate, no other candidate had the required geographical spread stipulated in the Constitution.
He said: ”The Court ruled that the Certificate of Return given to David Lyon be withdrawn and given to the runner up with the highest spread.
”This judgment lacks the tissue of justice. At the heart of this is who did the people actually vote for?
Where justice is sacrificed on the altar of technicality, this constitutes a grave danger.
”Nobody has raised issues about whether or not David Lyon and his running mate won an overwhelming majority in the said election. Issues of whether a chieftaincy title is part of a name or is not a name in our view couldn’t be a reason to dismiss the wishes of the great people of Bayelsa state who repose absolute confidence in the way in which they elected David Lyon and his running mate during the last governorship election.
”Let me also say that it is not a state secret, if as the Supreme Court has ruled, David Lyon cannot now be sworn in as the person who has the highest number of votes and the spread to be sworn in, it simply means from tomorrow there will be no government in Bayelsa State.
”But, as far as we know the next candidate, as the facts are before the court, who happens to be a PDP candidate does not have one-quarter of the total lawful vote cast in that election in 2/3 of the local government councils in Bayelsa State.
And, therefore from the fact available to us, in consultation with our lawyers, it is clear that there is no candidate that meets the requirements of the supreme court, which means no one can be sworn in legally tomorrow unless there is a 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 altar of technicalities.
”I believe it is still the same supreme court and therefore we have asked our lawyers to exploit all lawful legal windows to ensure that Bayelsa people have a governor of their choice.
”I have chosen to respond to this judgment so that we do not live the great people of Bayelsa in doubt as to where we stand. We stand by them. I also want the Nigerian public to know the position of the APC.”