Court nullifies APC guber primary in Bayelsa

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A federal high court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, on Thursday, nullified the governorship primary election that produced David Lyon as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The development comes a day after Lyon was disqualified from contesting the governorship election scheduled for Saturday, and the APC barred from fielding other candidates.

Degi-Eremienyo, Lyon’s deputy, was also disqualified on Tuesday from contesting the election over alleged false information in his academic credentials.

Delivering judgment, Jane Inyang, the judge, held that the primary election was conducted arbitrarily and outside the rules of the party.

The judgement followed a suit filed by Heineken Lokpobiri, an aspirant in the primary poll, who said he won the election.

Inyang held that since the process was conducted in violation of the party’s constitution and guidelines as clearly spelt out for the conduct of governorship primaries, none of the aspirants should be fielded as the party’s candidate.

She, therefore, restrained the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from including Lyon as the APC candidate in the governorship election scheduled for Saturday.

Inyang said according to the APC guidelines for the conduct of the 2019 governorship primaries, the results were expected to be declared by Mai Kala Buni, returning officer for the pre-election, not Emmanuel Ochega, secretary of the election committee.

She also held that the APC violated its own rules in the composition of the election panel when it constituted a one-member committee and not seven-member as stipulated in the party rules.

“It has been established by judicial authorities and several judgments that political parties are bound by their own rules, the committee that conducted the primary threw caution to the winds and it is my ruling that the primaries stand nullified,” Inyang said.

“The results announced by Sen Emmanuel Ochega is not valid as he is not the returning officer for the election.

“And I make an order restraining INEC from recognising any of the aspirants that participated in the said primaries.”

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