The Bayelsa Governorship Election Tribunal on Monday nullified the election of Governor Douye Diri.
The Tribunal also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to order a fresh election within 90 days.
The verdict follows the petition by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) challenging the victory of Governor Diri in the November 19 governorship election.
The ANDP claimed that the party was unlawfully excluded from the election.
In a split judgement of two-one, the three-man panel ruled that INEC does not have the power to disqualify any candidate for an election.
INEC in its argument had said that the party’s Deputy Governorship candidate was 34-year-old as at the time of nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest the election.
ANDP told Justice Yunusa Musa, who delivered the lead judgment that its initial Deputy Governorship Candidate, David Esinkuma was duly substituted by the Party within the allowed time frame, following the notification from INEC that he’s under-age.
Justice Musa in his response said that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insists that the petition of the ANDP stands.
He also added that only a court has the power to disqualify any candidate for any election and that the petition was filed within 21 days, which is the stipulated time for petitions to be filed.
Justice Musa described the action of INEC to exclude the ANDP from the Bayelsa Governorship Election as illegal.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo, however, dismissed the petition on technical grounds.
The Supreme Court today confirmed again, that truly I am the Governor of Bayelsa State. I give God the glory and I thank the learned Justices for their firm decision. pic.twitter.com/qofHRp1nJJ
— Governor Douye Diri (@iamDouyeDiri) February 26, 2020
Meanwhile, reacting to the ruling, Diri vowed to appeal the ruling by the tribunal nullifying his election as governor of the state.
He also said that he has instructed his lawyers to file the necessary papers.
Governor Diri disclosed this shortly after the tribunal ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wrongly excluded the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) governorship candidate in the November 2019 election.
The governor said he has implicit confidence in the judiciary and he would triumph at the end.
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