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Bayelsa Gov floors ANDP at Appeal court

     A five-man panel of the court of appeal led by Justice Adezila Mshelia in Abuja on Friday nullified the August 17, 2020 verdict of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which upturned the election of Governor Duoye Diri and ordered fresh conduct of a new poll within 90 days.

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   It would be recalled that a three-man election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja had, in a split decision of two-to-one, nullified the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa State governorship election as a result of the exclusion of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party and its candidate, King George, from the poll.

   This was sequel to a petition filed by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, which argued that it was unlawfully excluded from participating in the election.

   Delivering judgment on Monday, August 17, the panel, led by Justice Yunusa Musa, ruled that the election was unlawful due to the exclusion of ANDP and its candidate. Justice Musa also ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election in Bayelsa within 90 days.

   But dissatisfied with the judgment, Diri, his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the Independent National Electoral Commission had filed separate appeals against it.

   The court held that the Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal acted outside its jurisdiction by nullifying the election of Diri’s election.

   In a unanimous judgment, the five-man panel of the court said the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party failed to show that it had a valid candidature that was unlawfully excluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

    The court berated the tribunal for ignoring the fact that the petition of ANDP was status barred in addition to the fact that the party presented an unqualified candidate to INEC in the November 16, 2019 Governorship election in Bayelsa State.

   Commenting on the judgment, the governor in a press release by his spokesman, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, applauded the five-man panel of Justices for upholding the law and dispensing justice to all.

   He attributed the victory to God whom he referred to as the supreme leader of the universe ruling over the affairs of men.

   His words: “I want to thank God for this victory. Today, a Daniel came to judgement in the name of the Court of Appeal, which has given the true position of the law and we are happy about it.”

   Senator Diri said his administration was instituted by God and as a messenger, he is only holding brief for Him.

   The governor noted that the governorship candidate of the ANDP, King George, had earlier withdrawn his case at the tribunal and equally left the party but wondered why some persons would remote-control the purported chairman of the party.

   While appealing for support, Senator Diri described the litany of electoral cases as distractions, stressing that it was time the “portfolio political parties” stopped fanning the embers of disunity in the state.

“For those who are fanning the embers of disunity in  our state using portfolio political parties, this is a time to put a full stop to it. If they really love the state, why are they still fanning the embers of destabilization and moving on to unseat us?

“The governor of Bayelsa State is God Himself. I have told those who care to listen that I am only a messenger-governor. The governor of Bayelsa is His Excellency the Supreme Leader of the universe and that is God Himself.
   He kept me here to hold brief for Him and you cannot unseat God. There is a God that rules over the affairs of men and that God that has brought me here will protect me, my deputy governor and everybody put together to lead this government.”

   Diri also called on the political class to exercise caution and desist from divisive politics particularly as the senatorial bye-elections are fast approaching.

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