Bayelsa Poll: Why we declared Douye Diri as winner after Supreme Court ruling – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday declared Senator Douye Diri as the winner of the governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Senator Diri contested the election held on November 16 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Days later, INEC had returned elected the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), David Lyon, but the Supreme Court nullified his election on Thursday.

The verdict of the apex court triggered shock and disapproval from the APC camp as PDP supporters took to the streets in jubilation.

Amid various interpretations of the decision of the Supreme Court, the electoral umpire said it had received the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who addressed a press conference at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, explained how they arrived at the decision to declare Senator Diri as the winner of the exercise.

Read the full text of the INEC chairman’s briefing below:

MEDIA BRIEFING BY THE CHAIRMAN INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION INEC PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU ON THE JUDGEMENT OF THE SUPREME COURT ON THE BAYELSA GOVERNORSIIIP ELECTION HELD AT THE CONFERENCE ROOM, INEC HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA ON FRIDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2020.

Honourable National Commissioners Secretary to the Commission

Directors The Media Ladies and Gentlemen

I welcome you all to this briefing. As you are aware, the Supreme Court of Nigeria yesterday delivered a judgement in a pre-election suit on the Bayelsa State Governorship election held on 16‘“ November 2019.

The Commission has received the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement of the apex court which disqualified the Deputy Governorship candidate and vitiated the joint ticket of the party earlier declared winner in the election.

The Court also ordered the Commission to “…declare as winner of the Governorship election in Bayelsa State the candidate with the highest number of lawful votes cast with the requisite constitutional (or geographical spread)”.

In compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court, the Commission met this morning and reviewed the result of the election in which 45 political parties contested.

Without the votes scored by the All Progressives Congress (APC), whose candidates were deemed not to have participated in the election, the total number of lawful and valid votes cast in the election now stands at 146,999.

Out of this figure, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored the highest number of lawful votes with 143,172.

Similarly, the Party has scored more than 25% of the lawful votes cast in all the eight (8) Local Government Areas of the State.

Furthermore, the total number of registered voters in places where election was not held or cancelled as a result of sundry violations is 90,822.

The candidate of the Accord party has the next highest score with 1,339 votes.

The margin of lead between the candidates of the PDP and the Accord party is 141,833 votes. With this outcome, the election is conclusive at first ballot.

Consequently, Senator Douye Diri AND Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of the PDP are hereby declared winners and returned elected as Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively.

The detailed result will be shared with you at this briefing and uploaded on the Commission’s website and social media platforms shortly.

The Commission is aware that the tenure of the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State ends at midnight today Friday 14th February 2020.

Therefore, in fulfilment of the requirement of Section 75 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) the Certificates of Return to the Governor and Deputy Governor-elect will be presented to them immediately as ordered by the Supreme Court.