…Gives him certificate of return

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has ignored the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomole by declaring the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the November 16 governorship election in the state.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at a briefing on Friday in Abuja, said the commission received the certified copy of the Thursday’s Supreme Court judgement and thus declared the election conclusive.

This is at variance with Oshiomole’s declaration that no one should be declared winner and sworn-in in Bayelsa.

“The commission has received the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement of the apex court which disqualified the Deputy Governorship candidate (of the APC) and vitiated the joint ticket of the party earlier declared winner in the election.

“The Court also ordered the Commission to “…declare as winner of the Governorship election in Bayelsa State the candidate with the highest number of lawful votes cast with the requisite constitutional (or geographical spread),” Yakubu said.

According to him, in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court, the Commission met Friday morning and reviewed the result of the election in which 45 political parties contested, without the votes scored by the All Progressives Congress (APC), whose candidates were deemed not to have participated in the election.

Yakubu said that the total number of lawful and valid votes cast in the election now stand at 146,999 and that out of this figure, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored the highest number of lawful votes with 143,172.

He said the PDP similarly, scored more than 25 percent of the lawful votes cast in all the eight Local Government Areas of the State.

“Furthermore, the total number of registered voters in places where election was not held or cancelled as a result of sundry violations is 90,822. The candidate of the Accord party has the next highest score with 1,339 votes. The margin of lead between the candidates of the PDP and the Accord party is 141,833 votes. With this outcome, the election is conclusive at first ballot.

“Consequently, Senator Douye Diri and Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of the PDP are hereby declared winners and returned elected as Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively,” he said.

The INEC boss said the commission is aware that the tenure of the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State ends at midnight Friday 14th February 2020 and that in fulfilment of the requirement of Section 75 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) the Certificates of Return (CoR) to the Governor and Deputy Governor-elect will be presented to them immediately as ordered by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on Thursday sacked the former Bayelsa State governor-elect, David Lyon of the APC and his running-mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo 24 hours to their inauguration on February 14.

A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return (CoR) issued to the APC candidate as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.

Accordingly, the apex court in its unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, also ordered INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to the governorship candidate who scored the highest number of votes and the constitutional required geographical spread.

The INEC National Commissioner, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu later issued the CoR to the duo of Diri and Ewhrudjakpo as governor-elect and deputy-governor elect respectively.

In his acceptance speech, Diri expressed appreciation to the judiciary and his supporters for helping him and the PDP achieved their aim of their quest to serve Bayelsa.