Bayelsa election nullified but PDP looks hopeful in minority judgment and heads to appeal

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* APC members in Yenagoa in wild jubilation but leaders in PH cautious

* Diri, others in urgent secret meeting in Govt House

Supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bayelsa State took to the streets in Yenagoa to celebrate the judgment of State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja that annulled the November 2019 governorship election. However, APC leaders in nearby Port Harcourt (Rivers State) have expressed caution saying the party did not have candidates in the election to warrant optimism.

The tribunal annulled the election saying the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had no power to exclude the Advance National Democratic Party (ANDP) from the ballot.

Following the judgment, the APC supporters took to streets saying it gives them another chance to take a shot at the number one seat in the state in the fresh election the tribunal asked INEC to conduct within 90 days.

The Supreme Court had annulled the election of the APC governorship candidate, David Lyon after he won a landslide in the popular vote.

INEC had declared Diri duly elected after cancelling the votes ascribed to APC as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had the highest votes and spread.

Meanwhile, Bayelsa State was initially calm after the election was nullified in a state that was yet out of shocks few months back when the APC victory with David Lyon was cancelled.

Bayelsa State capital, Yenagoa, remained calm on Monday as news filtered in on the annulment of the November 2019 governorship election by state Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.

Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerged governor as the Supreme Court annulled the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, David Lyon over discrepancies in multiple names of his running mate, Degi Eremieyon.

People were seen going about their businesses peacefully although the annulment threw up debates and discussions among groups over the outcome of the tribunal judgment and what it meant for the state and people.

A university don and social justice activist, Ekiyor Welson expressed anger that the major political parties took the smaller parties for granted and so failed to carry them along afterwards.

He also questioned the Electoral Act as it does not give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the power to carry out its functions with the courts determining the outcome of elections in the country

However, Diri, through his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, said the governor will appeal the ruling and has instructed his lawyers to file the necessary papers.

Diri spoke shortly after the tribunal ruled that INEC wrongly excluded the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) governorship candidate said he has implicit confidence in the judiciary that he would triumph in the end.

His words: “We trust in the judiciary and we are appealing the judgement. With God on our side, we will get justice. This is a court of first instance and I have instructed our lawyers to file an appeal. We have a right of appeal even up to the Supreme Court.”

Diri urged PDP members and his supporters not to panic and to continue to remain calm and law-abiding.

Reacting to the judgment, APC State Chairman, Amos Jothan said there was no problem and called on the people to remain calm ahead the incoming fresh governorship election.

His words: “There is no problem. The tribunal has given its verdict concerning the Bayelsa elections and there are no two ways about it. We are poised to go for election when the time comes.

“There is no problem. I’m just telling Bayelsans to be calm so that we will keep our state in a good mood for the incoming election.

So far, PDP State chairman, Solomon Agwana, declined comment on the development saying he was awaiting details of the minority judgment before making any statement.

It was however gathered that Diri and other leaders of the PDP including his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, and the Speaker of the Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, entered a meeting inside Government House following the tribunal judgment.

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