By Mbah Okem Green, Yenagoa
Senator Douye Diri
The Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP) governorship candidate, Senator Douye Diri now governor of Bayelsa State said all he needed to rewrite the result that the All Progressives Congress, (APC) presented to the public during the state’s November 16, governorship election was wisdom.
Sen. Diri who, took to his Facebook handle shortly after the Supreme Court nullified the election of governor-elect, David Lyon and his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo on Thursday, February 13, 2020, expressed optimism that the 2020 is a year of victory, laughter and prosperity.
A five-man panel of the Apex court led by Justice Mary Odili ordered the independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the David Lyon and issue a fresh certificate of return to the candidate of the party with the next highest votes and with the required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election.
The APC lost according to the ruling because of multiple identities in the certificates submitted to INEC by the deputy governorship candidate. It upheld the ruling of the Abuja Federal High Court on the matter which earlier disqualified the APC joint candidates two days to the governorship election.
The Supreme Court ruling which came barely 24 hours to the inauguration of the APC candidates, sent shock waves down the spines of many Bayelsans who had cast their votes for David Lyon, the APC candidate.
The Bayelsa State chapter of the APC expressed shock over the ruling just as the APC national chairman Adams Oshiomhole boasted that Duoye Diri would not be sworn-in as Bayelsa State governor.
Speaking to newsmen in Yenagoa, the state APC publicity secretary, Mr. Doifie Buokoribo said that the party was shocked at the development.
“It is a shocking one but one thing that is clear is that the Dickson’s administration must leave tomorrow, there is no room for elongation of tenure not even for one minute.
“It is clear that only APC met the required spread as we won convincingly in five out of the eight Local Government Areas (LGAs), so without that spread I do not see how PDP can make it, certainly the speaker of the state House of Assembly would be sworn in as acting governor.
“Those of them celebrating in the PDP camp are doing so in ignorance,” Buokoribo said.
Before news of the judgment filtered into town, APC faithful were in high spirit preparing for the inauguration of their party candidates on Friday. David Lyon, then governor-elect had earlier visited the planned venue for his inauguration at Sampson Siasia Stadium, where he rehearsed for the ceremony.
All that changed with the Apex Court ruling throwing the state into tension and mourning. But for the PDP, it was all joy.
Reacting, the special adviser to ex-Gov. Seriake Dickson, Mr. Daniel Alabrah said the Supreme Court ruling in favour of PDP was “the will of God”.
“The PDP victory is not by our own power, it is the will of God. Many have defected to APC since the election but today, victory is for us.
“I believe the victory is for Bayelsa and not only for PDP. We want all parties to come together and we can move the state forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, workers in the state have expressed unhappiness over the ruling, stressing that they had wanted the APC candidate and not the PDP’s, Douye Diri, as they do not want the unpaid salaries syndrome that characterized the Seriake Dickson administration in the state to return.
Although INEC until about 8pm on Thursday said it was still awaiting its copy of the Supreme Court judgment, raising fears Diri might not take up office Friday as demanded by the constitution, the commission presented a certificate of return to the new governor –elect about noon on Friday in Abuja and he was sworn-in later in the day at the Bayelsa State Government House.
Speaking with newsmen on Thursday night, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi said the commission was not yet in receipt of the enrolled order of the court.
He said; “As at 8pm on Thursday when we left the office, we were yet to get an enrollment order. So, tomorrow (Friday), we will reconvene very early. And once we get the order, we will meet as a Commission and take a decision”.