How Oshiomhole failed to stop PDP in Bayelsa

The embattled and loquacious national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, after mobilizing the federal might at the behest of the ruling party, ended in deep frustration in his plot to stop the inauguration of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November governorship election as Governor of Bayelsa State last Friday after the Supreme Court in its judgment on Thursday nullified the victory of the APC candidate. Oshiomhole, having been warned by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to desist from making statements that would throw the Niger Delta into chaos or cause disorder in the country, had resorted to ‘conduct’ an extra-legal court proceeding at the APC national Secretariat, Abuja, re-interpreting and misinterpreting the judgement of the Supreme Court.

In Oshiomhole’s extra-judicial court process, no candidate met the constitutional requirement of securing one-quarter votes in at least two-thirds of the local governments in Bayelsa State. In Oshiomhole’s erroneous arithmetic, 2/3 of 8 local governments translates to 6 LGAs; he noted that the PDP candidate managed to get ¼ in 5 LGAs.

The APC national chairman, in a letter to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), dated February 14, 2020, requested that INEC should not issue Certificate of Return to the PDP candidate or any other candidate since none met the mandatory requirement. He reiterated that the PDP cannot be sworn in as governor. Oshiomhole, therefore, solicited INEC’s cooperation to conduct fresh governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Oshiomhole’s letter to the Executive Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abuja, attention to the Secretary of the Commission, reads:

“Dear Sir,

Judgment in Appeal No. SC1/2020 Between Peoples Democratic Party & 2 ORS V. Lyon David and 3 ORS;

Request for Conduct of Fresh Governorship Election in Bayelsa State

Kindly recall that the governorship election in Bayelsa State was conducted on the 16th of November 2019, and our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), duly participated at the said election. You will also recall that the All Progressives Congress emerged victorious at the election leading to our candidate – Lyon David Pereworinimi, being declared and returned as winner of the election.

Our attention has been drawn to the judgment of the Supreme Court delivered on 13th February 2020, in the pre-election appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship as well as deputy governorship candidates. In the said judgment of the Supreme Court, the candidature of our governorship and deputy governorship candidates were nullified and the Commission was ordered to issue fresh Certificate of Return to the candidate with the highest number of votes and with the required geographical spread. It is, however, to be noted that the Supreme Court did not void the votes that our party polled at the  election and the implication of this is that the votes of the All Progressives Congress must be reckoned with in determining whether any other candidate polled majority of lawful votes cast in one-quarter of at least two thirds majority of the state.

We have received the judgment of the Supreme Court and we are of the firm opinion that the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party cannot be issued Certificates of Return and/or sworn in as the Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively. We are aware that Section 179(1)(b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria mandatory requires a candidate for an election to the office of governor of a state to have not less than one-quarter of the votes at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the Local Government Areas in the State before the candidate can be deemed to have been duly elected as the Governor of the State. This mandatory requirement was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the judgment under reference.

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Bayelsa State has eight Local government areas, hence, the two-thirds of at least the eight Local Government Areas will be approximated to six Local Government Areas. From the results announced and duly published by the Commission, it is clear that NO CANDIDATE meet this mandatory constitutional requirement, including the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party who only managed to poll one-quarter of the votes cast in only FIVE Local Government Areas.

Our position is fortified by the fact that there is a condition precedent to the winner being issued a Certificate of Return as evidenced by Paragraph 7 of the judgment and this condition is that the candidate to be issued with the Certificate of Return must have one-quarter of the votes in at least two-thirds of the Local Government Areas.

In view of the above, we hereby request that Certificate of Return should not be issued to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party or any other candidate whatsoever, since none satisfies the requirement of one-quarter of the votes cast in at least 2/3 of all the Local Government Areas in the State as required by the Supreme Court Judgement. We further request that a fresh election be conducted by the Commission for the office of the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.”

INEC, however, complied with the judgment of the Supreme Court, reviewed the result of the election, declared the PDP candidate winner, and he was subsequently, sworn into office on Friday.