Bayelsa: Anxiety As Supreme Court Hears Lyon’s Case Wednesday

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By Hamilton Nwosa( Head The New Diplomat’s Business and Tracking Desk)

The Supreme Court has reportedly  scheduled this Wednesday (February 26) for the hearing of the application  by the All Progressives Congress (APC) seeking among others, a clinical review of the apex court’s February 13, 2020 judgment which voided  the  election of  Chief David Lyon as Governor-elect of Bayelsa State.

 Checks by The New Diplomat indicate  that Wednesday’s hearing might be the initial commencement of the case as it is not certain if  the respondents to the APC application have successfully filed their various responses to the main application and sundry issues.

The New Diplomat gathered that this latest development has created anxiety among the political combatants in Bayelsa State drawn from both the APC and the PDP. Within the APC, the apprehension in palpable just as it is within the ranks and file of the PDP. The political leader of the APC in Bayelsa is Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva while former Governor Seriake Dickson is leading the PDP.

Recall that the APC in an application filed earlier on February 20, 2020 by its legal team  led by  Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the party is praying the apex court  to set aside some critical aspects of its main judgment which knocked off Chief Lyon as Governor-elect of Bayelsa State. According to the APC, the basis on which the Supreme Court consequently premised its verdict  is faulty including  “wrongly”  holding the view  that the Federal High Court had  disqualified its governorship candidate alongside  its deputy  gubernatorial  candidate; and  that  the joint ticket of its candidates was consequently vitiated by the disqualification or ineligibility of the deputy gubernatorial  candidate, and that thus  both candidates were deemed not to be candidates in the governorship election.

The APC is also urging  the apex Court  totally set  aside that aspect or material portion of the judgment where it ordered INEC to declare as winner of the governorship election, parties with the highest number of lawful votes; and where it ordered INEC to withdrew the certificate of return issued to its governorship candidate,  and where it also caused INEC to issue a fresh one to the candidate who had the highest number of lawful votes.

The APC says  it was wrong for the Supreme Court to have voided its candidates’  votes  or participation in the election, “because the judgment by the Federal High Court, which disqualified its deputy governorship candidate, was stayed as at when the election was conducted.” The APC  is also insisting that  the Supreme Court  should  cast aside what it called  the “wrong” interpretation given to its judgment of February 13, 2020 and its subsequent execution by  INEC.
On the whole,  the APC  is insisting that the Supreme Court, in its judgment, misinterpreted, misread, and totally misconstrued the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja which it (the Supreme Court) went ahead to  affirm, stressing that  the apex Court also acted without jurisdiction and denied it (the party) fair hearing when it proceeded to disqualify its governorship candidate even though the Federal High Court, in the judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo, which the apex court affirmed, refused the plaintiffs’ prayer to disqualify Chief David Lyon, its governorship candidate.

Based on these grounds, the APC  maintains  that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) erred in its interpretation of the judgment of the Supreme Court wherein the former proceeded to issue  certificate of return to the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The APC in its statement said in part:  “By an originating summons dated 12th September, 2019, in Suit NO: PHC/ABJ/CS/ 1101/2019 between Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 ors., the respondents approached the Federal High Court for a total of 10 reliefs. In the judgment of the Federal High Court, per Ekwo J.,  delivered on 12th November. 2019, the said court granted only 6 (six) of the reliefs.
“In the drawn up order of the Federal High Court duly signed by the trial judge the 6 (six) reliefs granted are clearly encapsulated therein. “In specific reference to the reliefs for the disqualification of the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon Dovid Pereworimin), the trial court refused to grant the plaintiffs’ prayers to disqualify him. “It was only the Deputy Governorship candidate of the applicant (Biobarakuma Degl-Eremienyo) that the trial High Court made an order of disqualification against. “Applicant and its governorship and deputy governorship candidates timeously appealed the judgment of the Federal High Court to the Court of Appeal, and also applied for a stay of execution of the said judgment pending appeal.
“By on order mode on 13th November 2019 in CA/A/1053/M/2019 between Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & Anor v. Peoples Democratic Party & ors., the Court of Appeal. Abuja judicial division, stayed the execution of the judgment of the trial High Court delivered on 12th November, 2019. “As at the time the governorship election in Bayelsa State was conducted on 16th November 2019 the order for stay of execution granted by the Court of Appeal was subsisting and there was no appeal against it. “The judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered on 23rd December, 2019 whereby the Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the trial High Court delivered on 12th November. 2019. “There was no cross-appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision of the trial High Court refusing to make an order disqualifying the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon Dovid Pereworimin).
“In the judgment of this honourable court delivered on 13th February, 2019 this honourable court set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal and restored the decision of the trial High Court. In the enrolled order of the judgment of the trial High Court, no disqualification order was mode against the applicant’s candidate (Lyon David Pereworimin), whether consequentially or otherwise.

“After reinstating the judgment of the trial court in the judgment of this honourable court of this 13th February, 2020, in SC.1/2020 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 Ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 ors., this honourable court proceeded to disqualify the governorship candidate of the applicant (Lyon David Pereworimin) despite the fact that the trial High Court refused to grant the reliefs for his disqualification and there was no appeal against same. “In this honourable court’s judgment of 13th February, 2020, the court erroneously and inadvertently stated that the trial High Court consequentially disqualified the applicant‘s governorship candidate even though the trial court made no such order and when the trial court indeed refused to grant the express orders sought by the plaintiffs therein for his disqualification.
“This honourable court acted without jurisdiction by holding as in (xiii) and (xiv). supra (as contained in the two paragraphs above) and also breached applicant’s right to fair hearing. “With respect, the portions of the judgment of this honourable court highlighted in the body of this application constitute a nullity.
“With respect, the decision of this honourable court of 13th February, 2020, in SC.1/ 2020 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 ors., was premised on and vitiated by a fundamental error.
“With respect the decision of this honourable court of this 13th February, 2020, in SC. 1/ 2020 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo & 3 ors., is contrary to public policy.
“By a press statement made on 14th February, 2020, the Chairman of the 4th (INEC) respondent purported to interpret the judgment of this Honourable Court of 13th February, 2020 in SC.1/2020 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) & 2 ors. v. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo 8. 3 ors. “In the said press statement, the 4th respondent reviewed the judgment of this honourable court, gave it a different interpretation and came to a wrong conclusion, thus declaring the 2nd and 3rd respondents as the Governor and Deputy Governor-elect of Bayelsa State, respectively.”

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Hamilton Nwosa is an experienced, and committed communication, business, administrative, data and research specialist . His deep knowledge of the intersection between communication, business, data, communication and journalism are quite profound. His passion for professional excellence remains the guiding principle of his work, and in the course of his career spanning sectors such as administration, tourism, business management, communication and journalism, Hamilton has won key awards. He is a delightful writer, researcher and data analyst. He loves team-work, problem-solving, organizational management, communication strategy, and enjoys travelling. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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