/> Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal: 4 Things Likely To Be Considered As Judgement Is Expected Today



Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal: 4 Things Likely To Be Considered As Judgement Is Expected Today

It is no news that, the Bayelsa State Election Petition Tribunal, is set to deliver its judgement, on Saturday, 15th of August, 2020.

Four (4) Petitions, were brought before the Tribunal.

And here, I will be highlighting 4 distinct points, likely to be considered in these Petitions.

1. Whether the matter is Statute barred?

Here, INEC, admitted in their response, to the petition that, the cause of action arose, the certificate of return was issued to PDP. This is supported by the Supreme Court case of PDP v. Okoro; and, the recent Supreme Court case in Zamfara state; where, the Supreme Court held that, the cause of action or time begins to run, the day, the certificate of return was issued to PDP, by INEC; after the Supreme Court voided the victory of APC, and certificate of return was issued to PDP ( This position is same as, what happened in Bayelsa state).

This means, the matter is within timeframe; and, period of legal limitation has not elapsed.

2. Whether challenging the eligibility of the Deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewrudjakpo (which automatically affects the eligibility of the Governor, Senator Douye Diri), is a pre-election matter that, the election petition tribunal cannot entertain it?

Section 138(1)(a) of the Electoral Act 2015 as Amended, states that, ''election may be questioned, on any of the following grounds, amongst others that, the person whose election is questioned was, at the time of the election, not qualified to contest the election''.

This sub paragraph alone, has made it cleared that, legibility to contest is also, a post election matter; which, can be entertained by the tribunal.

This position of the law, is supported by the Supreme Court case of Suswan. Read the full detail here...

It is therefore clear that, the tribunal can question the eligibility of Sen. Lawrence Ewrudjakpo; which inevitably, affects the Governor, Sen. Douye Diri.

Furthermore, on the issue of eligibility and the powers of the tribunal to question the eligibility status, Section 285(2) of the 1999 Constitution states that, ''the state Governorship tribunal shall to the exclusion of any court or, tribunal have, original jurisdiction to hear and determine as to whether, any person has been validly elected to the office of the governor or, deputy governor or, a member of the legislative house''.

3. Whether there was exclusion of ANDP during the Governorship election?

It is clear that, the ANDP sponsored candidate; but, was unlawfully excluded during the Governorship election by INEC.

Section 31(1) of the Electoral Act provides that, ''every political party shall not later than 60 days, before the appointed for a general election, under this provisions of this submitted to the Commission, in the prescribed forms, the list of candidates, the party proposes to sponsor at the elections, provided that, the Commission shall not reject or disqualify candidates for any reason whatsoever.

This is the position of the court in Akpotus' case; where, the court ruled that, ''INEC Can’t Disqualify Candidates''.

Justice Folashade Ogunbiyi-Giwa, of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ruled that, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was wrong to have excluded the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State.

4. Note that: prior to this tribunal that was constituted, the PDP, had earlier on, in the court process which, they filed against APC, ''signed'' and ''sworn on oath'' that, there was no election in six (6) Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, and that, the election should be nullified. Remember, a person is bound by his own affidavit, made on oath; and, this is the case of UPC, at the tribunal, wherein, the certify true copies of the statement on oath, of the PDP, including their witnesses which include Douye Diri and others.

What the tribunal will likely considered, in their judgement is provided for, in Sections 140 and 141 of the Electoral Act which is supplied.

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