The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Sunday, February 16, has replied the All Progressives Congress, APC, to fresh governorship poll in Bayelsa State as requested.
The commission has dismissed the APC’s requested for a fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State.
According to the INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, saying the commission had on Friday concluded its work on the Bayelsa State governorship poll; nothing can change the commission decision.
Recall that, the All Progressives Congress, APC, had written a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) demanded a fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The National ruling party said only a fresh governorship election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Bayelsa, would be the solution to resolving the problem in the state.
In a letter forwarded to INEC, Adams Oshiomhole, National chairman of the APC, told INEC that Diri did not meet the requirement and that a fresh election should hold.
‘‘In the said judgement of the Supreme Court, the candidature of our governorship and deputy governorship candidates were nullified and the commission was ordered to issue fresh certificate of returns with the highest number of votes and with the required geographical spread,” the letter read.
“It is however to be noted that the Supreme Court did not void the votes that our party polled at the election and the implication of this is that the votes of the All Progressives Congress must be reckoned with in determining whether any other candidate polled majority of lawful votes cast in one-quarter of at least two thirds majority of the state.
‘‘We have reviewed the judgement of the Supreme Court and we are of the firm opinion that the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party cannot be issued certificate of return and or sworn in as the Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively.
‘‘We are aware of that section 179(1)(b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandatorily requires a candidate for an election to the office of governor of a state to have not less than one quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two thirds of all the local government areas in the state before the candidate can be deemed to have been duly elected as the Governor of the State. This mandatory requirement was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the judgement under reference.
“From the results announced and duly published by the commission, it is clear that no candidates meet this mandatory constitutional requirement, including the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party who only managed to poll one quarter of the votes cast in only five local government areas.
“The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party or any other candidate whatsoever, none satisfies the requirement of one quarter of the votes cast in at least 2/3 of the local government areas in the state as required by the supreme court judgement further request that a fresh election be conducted by the commission for the office of the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State.”
The Supreme Court had sacked Bayelsa governor-elect, David Lyon, candidate of the APC who was declared winner of the election in the state in the last year November.
Lyon sacked because of the Degi-Eremieoyo, his running mate who forged certificate and ordered for the withdrawal of his Certificate of Return and issuance of same to Douye Diri who came second in November polls.
In a reaction to INEC, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, the Director of Voter Education and Publicity, saying “the commission held on Friday concluded its work on the Bayelsa State governorship poll”
Osaze-Uzzi said, “Fresh election to which office or seat?” When our correspondent reminded him that it (the fresh poll) was for the office of the governor and that the APC had written INEC demanding a fresh election, he retorted, “After the declaration. Our work is done, please.”
Also, top officials of INEC, said the commission had never granted such a request and that of the APC would not be the first, The Punch reports.
One of the officials said, “The APC is asking for what is not possible. The party should forget a fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State.”
Shortly after the judgment was delivered, Oshiomhole had vowed that Diri would not be sworn in as the Bayelsa State governor because he did not meet the constitutional spread of votes in the governorship poll.
But in their swift reactions, the PDP and the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, dismissed the APC national chairman’s claim and insisted that Diri would be inaugurated.
After a meeting of its top management on Friday, INEC, at a press conference confirmed that Diri met the constitutional requirements.
It argued that votes of the APC candidates had been invalidated by the apex court judgment. It, therefore, presented a certificate of return to Diri, who was sworn in as the fifth governor of Bayelsa State on Friday.