The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had after the election declared Lyon winner and governor-elect.
Pointblanews.com checks revealed palpable fear in the APC camp that tomorrow’s ruling may not be different from that on Zamfara in which the Court of Appeal, Jos, held that Zamfara APC did not hold valid primaries.
The Supreme Court upheld the position of the Court of Appeal on Zamfara and subsequently nullified close to 600,000 votes secured by APC. The apex court victory to the PDP candidate who came a distant second in the election.
In Bayelsa, Lokpobiri is challenging the outcome of the rancorous APC governorship primary election in the state, in which the secretary of the party’s electoral panel, Senator Emmanuel Ocheje declared Lyon winner with 42,138 votes.
Dissatisfied with the 571 votes Senator Ocheje said he polled during the exercise, Lokpobiri approached a Federal High Court, praying the court to declare him winner.
In an originating summons dated September 7, 2019, he questioned the powers of his party (APC) to nominate Lyon when, according to him, Section 87 of the Electoral Act and Articles 7 and 20 of the APC electoral guidelines were not complied with.
The former minister sought 14 reliefs, including an order compelling APC to submit his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and “such consequential order or other orders as the honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.”
He attached a 45-paragraph affidavit, including his APC membership card,, a copy of the party constitution and guidelines for the conduct of primaries, a copy of the party’s letter appointing Governor of Yobe State, Mai Bala Bunu returning officer of the Bayelsa APC governorship primary election.
The former minister further told the court that results from wards in five out of the eight local government areas of Ekeremor, Sagbama, Ogbia, Yenegoa, and Kolokuma/Opukuma-
were not collated before Lyon was declared winner.
Even at that, further stated Lokpobiri, the results were announced by secretary of the panel, Senator Emmanuel Ocheje, and not by the Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Bunu APC appointed chief returning officer for the primary election.
In her judgement, Justice Jane Iyang held that paragraph 14(g) of the APC guidelines for the nomination of candidates for the 2019 general elections stipulates that “the chairman of the committee shall declare the aspirant polling majority of lawful votes as the winner of the primary”.
She ruled, “the results declared by Senator Emmanuel Ocheje, in the circumstance, cannot be presumed to be valid and correct and I so hold.”
She continued, “The return by Senator Emmanuel Ocheje vitiated the entire primary of the 1st defendant (APC) on 4th September, 2019…what this means is that in the eyes of the law, the 1st defendant did not conduct valid primaries on the 4th of September, 2019 for the nomination and selection of candidates for the elections scheduled to take place in Bayelsa State on 16th November, 2019”.