- APC will return to court – Oshiomhole
- New governor calls for unity in Bayelsa
Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo were sworn in as the new Bayeslsa State governor and deputy governor respectively at the Government House in Yenagoa yesterday after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Diri winner of the November 16 governorship election in the state.
The swearing in ceremony which was administered by the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, was done in a low key ceremony.
It was attended by governors of Oyo and Bauchi states, Seyi Makinde and Bala Muhammad, with some members of the National Assembly from within and outside the state.
In his inaugural speech, Governor Diri described his ascension to power as the hand work of God, urging PDP members to be magnanimous in victory.
He said: “My deputy and I bring hope and prosperity to Bayelsa State, we come to serve the people of this great state, and serve as the instruments of peace.
“It’s a day that God has made, and a day marvelous in our eyes, my dear people of Bayelsa State, this is a state that we all wanted to create, as serving members of the Ijaw National Congress, we traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria and all of us desiring to create a state that can develop our region and our area, today, we have a state and we must develop it.
“As we have been sworn in today as the governor and deputy, my advice to our party, the PDP, is that we have to be magnanimous in victory, the bitterness, the acrimony, if we kill one another, who are we going to lead? That is why we bring the message of love to Bayelsa, we must eschew bitterness and acrimony and learn to love one another.
“Whether from the same party or different party, primarily, we are brothers and sisters from the same state, our creed today is to serve Bayelsa people and bring prosperity to Bayelsa State.”
INEC complies with Supreme Court ruling
The INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had earlier at a briefing in Abuja, said the commission received the certified copy of Thursday’s Supreme Court judgement and thus declared the election conclusive.
According to him, in compliance with the order of the Supreme Court, INEC met yesterday 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.
Yakubu said the total number of lawful and valid votes cast in the election now stand at 146,999 and out of this figure, the PDP scored the highest number of lawful votes with 143,172.
He said the PDP similarly scored more than 25 percent of the lawful votes cast in all the eight local government areas of the state.
We won’t accept declaration – APC
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has rejected the declaration of the PDP candidate as winner of the election.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, said the votes scored by the PDP candidate in the election had only met the requirements of five local governments in the state instead of six.
He said INEC chose to declare a candidate who did not qualify to be declared winner, adding that the party would go to court to seek justice.
“We recognize that having purported to have sworn in or issued certificate to the PDP candidate, we still believe that there are viable legal windows that we will explore. We affirm our confidence in the judiciary even with pains in our hearts,” he said.
While calling on the people of Bayelsa to maintain peace and order, he added that the party would do everything possible to stand by them to resolve the issue in a peaceful manner.
Police impose curfew amidst violent protests
The police yesterday imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state over the violent protests that erupted in the state capital and other parts of the state over the Supreme Court judgement.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Uche Anozie in company of other security heads while addressing newsmen in Yenagoa, said the curfew took effect from yesterday to Sunday.
He said eight suspects had been arrested in connection with the protests.
Before the swearing in, angry protesters had attacked the state Secretariat of the PDP and Diri’s residence.
The protesters, who earlier barricaded streets of Yenagoa, later went violent, destroying property of some PDP chieftains.
They also attacked the public library belonging to the member representing Yenagoa and Kolokuma/Opokuma federal constituency in the National Assembly, Prof Steve Azaiki, the PDP Secretariat in Yenagoa and Radio Bayelsa.
The state Secretary of APC, Mr Alabo Martin’s, who led a peaceful protest, said Bayelsans would not allow their mandate to be truncated.
He said: “We will not allow or sit down and watch our mandate, our will and the wishes of Bayelsa people being being truncated by the Supreme Court, we will not allow a kangaroo board meeting of INEC to decide the effect of entire Bayelsans who voted for David Lyon.”
The Supreme Court Thursday sacked the former governor-elect, David Lyon of the APC and his running-mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, 24 hours to their inauguration.
A five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return (CoR) issued to the APC candidate as the winners of the election.
Accordingly, the apex court in its unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, also ordered INEC to issue a fresh certificate of return to Senator Diri Duoye, who scored the highest number of votes and the constitutionally required geographical spread.
The INEC National Commissioner, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu later issued the CoR to Diri and Ewhrudjakpo as governor-elect and deputy-governor elect respectively yesterday.
A former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has congratulated the new governor. Jonathan in a congratulatory message via his twitter handle
@GEJonathan, urged people of the state to be peaceful and law abiding.
“I congratulate His Excellency, Senator Douye Diri who was sworn in today (yesterday) as the 5th civilian governor of Bayelsa State, in compliance with the Supreme court verdict of yesterday, February 13, 2020.
“You have worked with me before as a commissioner, so I am without doubt that you will live up to the expectations of our people. I call on all Bayelsans to be law-abiding, peaceful and embrace this transition in all sincerity, and work together towards a united and prosperous state,” he said.
In a related development, the PDP has announced its resolve to constitute a committee to reconcile with Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and other aggrieved party members in Bayelsa State.
Jonathan, Wike and other PDP bigwigs were aggrieved over the emergence of Diri as the party’s candidate for the election and boycotted the PDP campaign flag-off in Yenagoa. Jonathan’s supporters also defected to the APC over the issue.
But speaking in Abuja yesterday while receiving the Certificate of Return from Diri, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said it was time for all party members in the state to come together, hence the need for a reconciliation committee.
2 Bayelsa seats gone, one hanging in Senate
Two of the three seats of Bayelsa State at the Senate are now vacant following the swearing in of two senators as governor and deputy governor of the state.
Except for David Lyon, the erstwhile governor-elect, the three other key actors in the Bayelsa State election tussle are federal lawmakers.
While Lyon’s running mate, Eremienyo Biobaraku Wangagra whose certificate caused the APC represents Bayelsa East Senatorial District, the new governor, Douye Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, represented Bayelsa Central and West Senatorial Districts respectively.
With their inauguration yesterday, the Baylesa Central and West seats at the Upper Chamber are vacant. The seat of Bayelsa East is hanging following the verdict of the apex court on the certificate of the occupant.
Daily Trust on Saturday reports that Seriake Dickson, the immediate past governor of the state is one of those eyeing the seat for Bayelsa West senatorial district.