The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday faulted the judgment of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which on Monday nullified the election of Governor Douye Diri. The commission insisted that the candidacy nomination of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) for the November 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State is invalid.
INEC National Commissioner, who is Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, on TVC News – This Morning Show – on Tuesday was cited have disputed the conclusion of the judges at the tribunal in the nullification of the election, arguing that the ANDP candidate did not fulfil the minimum age requirement which is 35 years as prescribed by law.
There are indications that the INEC clarification may have given confidence to Governor Diri, renewing his hope of survival. It is also expected that the clarification could be repeated at the Court of Appeal for consideration.
The Bayelsa Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in a split judgement of two to one on Monday nullified the election of Governor Diri and ordered INEC to conduct fresh within 90 days.
The majority judgment of the two judges, held that INEC lacks the power to disqualify candidate in an election. The judges maintained that INEC unlawfully excluded the candidate of the ANDP from the Bayelsa State governorship election held on November 16, 2019.
Governor Diri had immediately the judgment was delivered, directed his lawyers to file an appeal. APC supporters in Bayelsa State had suddenly rushed to the streets celebrating the judgement.