Six SANs, 46 Lawyers begin Battle to Save Diri, Ewrujakpor

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At least 52 lawyers, including six with the ranks of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) have been enlisted to save the jobs of the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri and his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewrujakpor, at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

The lawyers and SANS hired by Diri, Ewrujakpor, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were reportedly ready to begin legal fireworks in a case filed by the Governorship Candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM), Vijah Opuamah.

Opuamah’s case scheduled for pre-hearing on Monday commenced like a joke immediately the Supreme Court declared Diri the winner of the last year’s governorship election following the disqualification of the Governor-elect, Chief David Lyon.

The matter packaged by three junior lawyers, Ebikebuna Aluzu, Pius Danba and Ebi Robert, was dismissed initially by most PDP leaders as dead on arrival, until careful scrutiny of the processes filed by the lawyers suggested otherwise.

Opuama is seeking the disqualification of Ewrujakpor and the cancellation of the November 16, 2019 governorship election.

He wants the court to order a fresh election in Bayelsa alleging that the poll conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Opuama, in the petition alleged that Ewrujakpor, the 4th respondent, submitted an affidavit to INEC, the 1st respondent, that contained false information.

The nucleus of his petition contained in a statement of facts he deposed at the tribunal said: “The 4th Respondent was not qualified to contest the election in that he submitted an affidavit containing false information to the 1st Respondent.

“The 4th Respondent’s degree certificate dated 3rd February 1998 purportedly issued by Rivers State University of Science and Technology and the 4th Respondent’s certificate of exemption from National Youth Service Corps purportedly issued on 2nd February 1998 are inconsistent with one another and contradictory to one another and both forged”.

It was gathered that all the respondents, INEC, PDP, Ewrujakpor and Diri, forwarded  their replies on the petition to the tribunal.

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It was further learnt that a couple of Bayelsa leaders especially chieftains of the PDP were mounting pressure on Opuama to withdraw the matter.

They were said to have made various offers including cash and juicy appointments to Opuama to withdraw the matter but the candidate remained adamant.

Opuama confirmed receiving many telephone calls from various persons, who wanted him to abandon the case.

He said: “That was not the reason why we filed. I did not spend ten years of my life researching on leadership and studying political leadership just to negotiate paltry some of money.

“If the party was established for such then it is against the values enshrined in its ideology and constitution. I refused to take citizenship in Australia because that automatically disqualifies me to run for Governor or president of my country. After making such sacrifices, I should come negotiate for how much?

“And what do I do, negotiate for a few millions and tarnish image I have spend 25 years to build and make? I believe in one thing. A good name. There are only two options here. A good fight and establish a good name, and becoming the next governor of Bayelsa State.

“However, if they call anyone again to negotiate, I can only give them audience if they offer 115 million dollars. At least, that will build a strong Liberation Movement. We will get offices in all states. Get offices in all Bayelsa wards.

“Empower our members in various capacities including scholarships and research funding, invest and create jobs for Bayelsa youths and sponsor more young people in politics”.

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The Nation

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