Tribunal dismisses two petitions, affirms Diri as Bayelsa governor

Bayelsa state governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja has affirmed Duoye Diri as the duly elected governor of Bayelsa.

Diri, a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was sworn in as governor after the supreme court sacked David Lyonas governor-elect 24 hours before his inauguration.

The apex court based its rulings on the premise that Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo, running mate of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), presented forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a unanimous decision on Saturday, a three-man panel of the tribunal dismissed two petitions challenging the Diri’s victory.

S.M. Owoduni, judge who read the lead judgment of the tribunal held that the petition filed by Owei Woniwei candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), is incompetent and lacks merit.

Owoduni held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegation that Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, deputy governor of Bayelsa state, forged his declaration of age and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharged certificate.

The second petition filed by Ibiene Stephen and his party, the United Peoples Congress (UPC), was also dismissed.

The tribunal is currently reading its judgment in the petition filed by Vijah Opuama, candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM).

Opuama had filed a petition to challenge the declaration Diri and Ewhrudjakpo as governor and deputy governor.

Opuama also alleged that Ewhrudjakpo submitted forged exemption certificate and documents that contain false information to INEC, asking the tribunal to cancel the election and order a fresh poll.