Bayelsa Gov Poll: Supreme Court affirms Diri’s electioThe Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed Douye Diri as the duly elected governor of Bayelsa.
A seven-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta in a unanimous judgement, dismissed the six appeals filed against the governor and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
Justice Ngwuta predicated the dismissal of the appeals on the withdrawal of the six appeals by lawyers of the appellants.
The appeals dismissed were filed by the Alliance for Democracy, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), Labour Movement (LM) and Accord Party (AD).
Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came second in the last year’s governorship election in the state.
He was later declared the elected governor of the state in a subsequent Supreme Court judgment disqualifying the All Progressives Congress’s candidate David Lyon who earlier emerged the winner of the poll.
Diri’s victory has been challenged a number of times but the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja had at different times also affirmed him as the duly elected governor of the state.
He was sworn in on February 14, a day after the Supreme Court sacked Lyon, and his Deputy, Degi-Eremieoyo.
Lyon’s election was nullified after his deputy was accused of submitting forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In his reaction to the ruling of the Supreme Court, which dismissed the last batch of cases against him and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Governor Diri said the litigants were neither his enemies nor enemies of Bayelsa, he said they only exercised their rights by going to court and that he did not consider the litigations as personal regardless of the fact that they were a distraction.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said in a statement that the dismissal of the petitions of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Liberation Movement (LM) and Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) against the deputy governor and that of the Accord Party (AP) against Diri was the fifth time the governor and his deputy had won at the Supreme Court.
In putting a final seal on the governor as being duly elected, the apex court said the appeals lacked merit and therefore dismissed all four petitions.
Speaking to journalists after the judgement, Governor Diri said: “I have over the period leading to the Supreme Court ruling said as a state we do not need all of this distraction. We are one and the brotherhood should be paramount.
“After elections, particularly when a government has taken the oath of office, we expect everybody to support and bring their ideas on board for Bayelsa to grow and become prosperous. That is why we tagged our government the Prosperity Administration.
“So, today marks the end of all the litigations. If anybody wants to further appeal, maybe he can appeal to the court of the devil. But, constitutionally, I believe this is the end of all the litigations.
“Once again, I call on my brothers that had gone on this appeal to join hands with the government of the day. And what should be uppermost on our mind should be the interest of Bayelsa and not individual and personal interest.
“Of course, it is their right to take their matter to the end. However, I call on my brothers on the other side, who are not my enemies but political adversaries, so to speak, to join hands with our government and ensure that we bring development and prosperity to our people.”
The Bayelsa governor commended the Chief Justice of Nigeria and other justices of the Supreme Court for their professionalism and for again displaying that the court was the last hope of the common man by standing on the side of the rule of law.
He also urged the Bayelsa people not to despair due to the challenges of the time.
“The times are hard. We are in tough times in the face of COVID-19, which is still threatening, and the dwindling resources of our country and of our state.
“We are still believing God that has divinely put us in the position of leadership to also provide the divine resources for us to develop and prosper in Bayelsa and in Nigeria.
“So, my message to Bayelsans is that there is hope for us and prosperity is coming to Bayelsa. Nobody should despair.
“This is the time for us to bring our ideas to the table. This is the time for us to actually walk the talk and look at issues dispassionately without sentiments and emotions, in order to bring development and prosperity to our state.”