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‘Sack Governor Diri, Deputy As PDP Candidates’, Bayelsa Woman Begs Court In Fresh Suit

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Governor Diri
Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State





A fresh suit seeking the disqualification of Governor Douye Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has commenced at a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, less than nine days to the Bayelsa State governorship election.

BREAKING: Tribunal Sacks Bayelsa Governor Diri, Orders Fresh Election Within 90 Days
The Balyesa State Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja, has nullified the election of Governor Douye Diri. BIGPEN reports the state deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo was also sacked in a majority judgment delivered by Justice Yunusa Musa Monday morning. The nullification was sequel to a petition brought before it

The suit sought an order of mandatory injunction directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove the names of Messrs Diri and Ewhrudjakpo as PDP’s candidates in the 11 November poll.

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It also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC, its agents, privies or whosoever called, from further publishing their names as standard bearers for the party in the forthcoming election in Bayelsa.

The suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1448/23, which was filed by a Bayelsa woman, Blessing Azibanagbal, through her lawyer, Ifeanyi Nsowu, further sought a declaration that Mr Ewhrudjakpo was not qualified to run as deputy governor under the PDP.

Ms Azibanagbal, in the originating summons filed on 30 October, sought a declaration that Mr Ewhrudjakpo was also not qualified to be Mr Diri’s running mate.

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She asked the court to declare that Mr Ewhrudjakpo had multiple names without any evidence to prove “that he is the same person.”

She, therefore, urged the court to declare that the PDP had no candidate in the poll.

The suit, which was brought under Rule 3, Order 9 of the FHC Civil Procedure Rules, 2019, sought “a declaration that the 3rd defendant (PDP) does not have any qualified candidate to run for the governorship election in Bayelsa.”

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Governor Diri, Mr Ewhrudjakpo, PDP and INEC are 1st to 4th defendants respectively in the matter.

Raising five issues for determination, Ms Azibanagbal asked whether a first school leaving certificate holder can run for the governorship election of a state in line with the provision of the Nigerian constitution.

“Whether the failure of the 1st (Diri); and 3rd defendants (PDP) to provide a candidate that has the qualification to run for the governorship of a state can be a ground to disqualify both candidates.

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“Whether a candidate with multiple names without any evidence to substantiate the names can contest for governorship election in a state.

“Whether the 2nd defendant (Ewhrudjakpo), submitting only his first school leaving certificate in his Form EC9 submitted with INEC qualifies him to contest election as deputy governor of Bayelsa State.

“Considering issues 1 to 4 above, whether this honourable court has jurisdiction to order the 4th defendant to remove the names of 1st and 2nd defendants as candidates in the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State,” it read.

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In the affidavit in support of the originating summons deposed to by Yenle Istifanus, a litigation secretary with Compendium Chambers, the lawyer said she knew as a fact that Ms Azibanagbal, who hails from Bayelsa State and is a Nigerian citizen, had the legal right to institute the action.

She said though Messrs Diri and Mr Ewhrudjakpo submitted their Form EC9 to INEC which empowered them to contest in the poll, the deponent said this must be strictly in line with a constitutional provision for qualifications for a person to run for the office of a governor and deputy governor of a state.

The lawyer, who averred that failure to comply with the said qualification amounted to disqualification of the said candidate, stated that all the documents submitted by Mr Ewhrudjakpo “bear different names with no substantial evidence to substantiate that he is the same person in the said documents.”

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“That I know as a fact that failure of the 2nd defendant to produce documents that bear the same names disqualifies him to contest as a deputy governor of a state,” she said.

She said it would be in the interest of justice to grant the application as the defendants would not be prejudiced.

The plaintiff’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Nwosu, in an ex-parte motion seeking a leave to serve Messrs Diri and Ewhrudjakpo at the Government House in Bayelsa, through courier service, moved the application on Friday.

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The suit, which was the only matter in the Friday’s cause list, was heard at the judge’s chamber.

NAN, however, gathered that the judge, Emeka Nwite, granted the prayer.

He subsequently adjourned the matter until 30 November for a hearing.

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(NAN)

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