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Bayelsa governor appeals tribunal judgment, seeks stay of execution

NEWSMAN, Bayelsa – Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri has appealed the tribunal judgment that nullified his election on Monday. He also instructed his lawyers to seek a stay of execution to prevent the judgment from being implemented.

Diri’s election was nullified based on a petition filed by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, which argued that it was unlawfully excluded from participating in the election.

Delivering judgment on Monday, two out of the three-man panel ruled that the election was unlawful due to the exclusion of ANDP and its candidate.

The tribunal also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election in Bayelsa within 90 days.

Diri’s nullification came two days after the same tribunal dismissed three petitions challenging his election as governor on Saturday.

The judge, S.M. Owoduni, who read the lead judgment of the tribunal on Saturday held that the petition filed by AD and its candidate, Owei Woniwei, is incompetent and lacks merit.

Justice Owoduni held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegation that Mr Diri’s deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, forged his declaration of age and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharged certificate.

The second petition filed by Ibiene Stephen and his party, UPC and the one filed by the candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM), Vijah Opuama, were also dismissed.

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

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

Diri, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was sworn in as governor after the Supreme Court sacked David Lyon, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, as governor-elect 24 hours before his inauguration in February.

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

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