Nigeria: Bayelsa Governorship - APC Seeks Review of Supreme Court Judgement

21 February 2020

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has filed an application at the Supreme Court, asking it to reverse a judgement that sacked David Lyon as governor-elect of Bayelsa State.

A five-member panel of the apex court led by Mary Odili, had on February 13, nullified the election of Mr Lyon on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the November 16 governorship election in the state.

The apex court in the judgment delivered by Ejembi Eko consequently ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Messrs Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo.

The court also ordered that <a target="_blank" href="https://www.inecnigeria.org/">INEC</a> should immediately declare the party with the highest number of lawful votes and geographical spread the winner of the election.

The PDP and its governorship candidate, Mr Diri, had filed a suit against Messrs Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo, and INEC, seeking the disqualification of the APC deputy governorship candidate.

They had claimed that Mr Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in his CF 0001 form submitted to INEC.

APC's request

Dissatisfied with the apex court judgement, APC through their lawyers, Wole Olanipekun and Lateef Fagbemi, respectively, filed their application.

In the application, the lawyers claimed that the judgment of the Federal High Court was misinterpreted by the apex court and thus disqualified Mr Lyon wrongly.

They further argued that the trial court in its judgement delivered on November 12, 2019, found out that Mr Degi-Eremienyo was guilty of submitting forged certificates but that the judge, Inyang Ekwo, refused to grant the PDP's request, which asked for Mr Lyon's disqualification.

"It was only the deputy governorship candidate of the applicant (Biobarakuma Degl-Eremienyo) that the trial High Court made an order of disqualification against."

In their argument, APC contended that the PDP never filed any cross-appeal against the trial court's decision not disqualifying Mr Lyon.

"After reinstating the judgment of the trial court in the judgment of this honourable court of the 13th February 2020, in SC.1/2020 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 Ors., this honourable court proceeded to disqualify the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon David Pereworimin) despite the fact that the trial High Court refused to grant the reliefs for his disqualification and there was no appeal against same," the APC said.

"In this honourable court's judgment of 13th February 2020, the court erroneously and inadvertently stated that the trial High Court consequentially disqualified the applicant's governorship candidate even though the trial court made no such order and when the trial court indeed refused to grant the express orders sought by the plaintiffs therein for his disqualification."

In their request among others, the APC asked the apex court to set aside the order which directed INEC to withdraw Mr Lyon's certificate of return.

A similar scenario is taking place in Imo State, where Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP is <a target="_blank" href="https://www.premiumtimesng.com/regional/ssouth-east/376004-imo-governorship-ihedioha-seeks-review-of-supreme-court-judgement.html&hl=en-NG">seeking a review</a> of a Supreme Court judgement that axed him as the governor of the state.

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