Breaking: Tribunal Nullifies Diri’s Election, Orders Fresh Poll
Daily Metro News NG
The Election Petition Tribunal of Bayelsa governorship election has nullified the election of Senator Douye Diri as Governor of Bayelsa Sate, Daily Metro News has gathered.
The Tribunal also ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election within 90 days.
In the majority judgement on Monday, the three-man panel ruled that INEC does not have the power to disqualify any candidate for any election.
The verdict follows the petition brought to it by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) challenging the victory of Governor Diri in the November 19 governorship election.
The ANDP claimed that it was unlawfully excluded from the election.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in its argument said that the party’s Deputy Governorship candidate was 34 years old as at the time of nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest the election on age ground.
ANDP told the tribunal that its initial Deputy Governorship Candidate, David Esinkuma was duly substituted by the Party within the constitutionally allowed time frame of INEC notification that he is under-age.
Justice Musa in his response said that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insists that the petition of the ANDP stands.
He also adds that only a court has the power to disqualify any candidate for any election and that the petition was filed within the 21 days which is the stipulated time for petitions to be filed.
Justice Musa describes the action of INEC to exclude the ANDP from the Bayelsa Governorship Election as illegal and unconstitutional.
The lead judgment nullified the election of Senator Douye Diri.
However, the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo has dismissed the petition on technical grounds.