Bayelsa: Appeal Court Upholds Diri’s Victory

Joseph Bakare

The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday, October 2, affirmed the election of Gov. Duoye Diri of Bayelsa.

The court in a unanimous judgment set aside the judgment of the Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which nullified Diri’s election and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections within 90 days.

Oriental News Nigeria, reports that Diri’s election was nullified due to a petition by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) that it was unlawfully excluded from participating in the poll.

The tribunal, therefore, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct a fresh election within 90 days.

However, in a twist the Court of Appeal on Friday said the ANDP did not prove valid nomination of its candidate to contend unlawful exclusion.

The five-man panel held that the tribunal acted outside its jurisdiction in nullifying the election.

Meanwhile, in his Independence Day Speech, Governor Diri has urged unity; as Nigeria and Bayelsa marked their 60th and 24th anniversaries.

Diri, in a statewide broadcast aired on Yenagoa-based radio stations, yesterday, implored Nigerians and Bayelsans “to emphasise the things that unite us as we have much in common than those things that divide us.”

A statement by his spokesman, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as specifically calling on Bayelsans to focus more on promoting unity; peace; and sustainable development; rather than dissipate energy on issues that cause disunity.

He also urged the people to join hands with his administration in building Bayelsa in line with the vision of its founding-fathers; stressing the need to honour the memory of those that fought for the country’s political freedom to liberate the people from the shackles of poverty; ignorance; injustice; and under-development.

Diri, who described the October 1 yearly celebration as solemn and significant; congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians for achieving the remarkable milestone.

The governor also saluted the courage; sacrifice; and tenacity of all frontline medical personnel in the fight against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

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