The Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has nullified the election of Governor Duoye Diri and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a bye-election within 90 days.
The tribunal based its decision on what it described as unlawful exclusion of Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party and its candidate, King George, from the November 16, 2019 governorship election.
The Justice Mohammed Sirajo-led three-man panel in a unanimous decision dismissed the first petition that was filed by the Alliance for Democracy and its candidate, Owei Woniwei, for want of merit.
The tribunal had on August 15 upheld the election of Governor Diri and his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to by way of credible evidence, prove that the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, Ewhrudjakpo, tendered forged certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
In the lead judgment that was read by Justice S.M. Owoduni, the tribunal further held that the petitioners failed to also establish the allegation that Ewhrudjakpo falsified his age.
Describing the case as “unnecessary waste of time of the court”, the tribunal, upheld preliminary objections that Diri, Ewhrudjakpo, and the Peoples Democratic Party lodged to challenge the competence of the petition.
The AD and its candidate had in their petition, alleged that Ewhrudjakpo altered the name on the National Youth Service Corps certificate he presented to INEC for the purpose of the governorship election that held on Nov. 19, 2019.