Diri Appeals Judgement Nullifying His Election As Bayelsa Governor

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Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has appealed the judgement which nullified his election as the governor of the state.

The governor’s lawyers filed the Notice of Appeal on Tuesday at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He is challenging the majority judgement of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal which nullified his election on 12 grounds.

The Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are listed as first, second, and third respondents in the appeal.

Governor Diri disagreed with the entire majority decision of the Tribunal as delivered by Justice Yunusa Musa and Justice Sikiru Owodunni.

He argued that the petition by the ANDP challenged its alleged unlawful exclusion from the election that was conducted on November 16, 2019.

The governor added that the cause of action of the first respondent crystallised on November 16, 2019, the Election Day when it claimed to have realised that INEC indeed did not place it on the ballot.

“From the date, the 1st Respondent had 21 days within which to file a petition against the alleged unlawful exclusion from the election.

“There was no election on the 14th day of February 2020 held by INEC to warrant the 1st Respondent’s petition filed on 26th February 2020, more than five months after the declaration of results, as the ground of complaint of unlawful exclusion is a complaint against an election, not a declaration,” he said.

According to Governor Diri, the case of ANDP is not hinged on the nullification of the votes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, David Lyon, nor on the declaration of results by INEC on February 14, nor on his return as the governor of Bayelsa State.

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He insists that it was hinged on the ANDP’s alleged unlawful exclusion from the election, stressing that the first respondent’s petition was statute-barred and in breach of the provisions of Section 285(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The governor, therefore, urged the appellate court to set aside the entire majority decision of the Tribunal, as well as dismiss the petition by the first respondent.

He also asked the court to uphold the minority judgement of the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo.

Governor Diri believes Justice Sirajo appreciates the law and correctly applies the same to the facts and rightly dismissed the petition of ANDP.

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