Ikenga Ugochinyere, a political activist and legal practitioner, has said the All Progressive Congress (APC) cannot take part if a fresh governorship election is conducted in Bayelsa State.
The Bayelsa State Election Tribunal had today nullified the election which brought Duoye Diri, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last year exercise, to power.
Mr Diri was declared winner by the Supreme Court, after the apex court cancelled the votes of David Lyon, candidate of the APC in the election. The academic credentials of his running mate and then deputy governor-elect Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, beared discrepancies when perused by the apex court.
After today’s ruling, supporters of the APC in Bayelsa State began jubilating, saying the development affords their candidate another chance of testing his popularity.
In his reaction, Ugochinyere is of the opinion that if the verdict of the tribunal is not upturned at the Supreme Court, the APC, by the verdict of the apex court on it and its candidates, cannot participate in the fresh exercise.
He said the order for a fresh election within 90 days does not translate into beginning the electoral process afresh and for the substitution of candidates.
He argued that the Supreme Court verdict on the APC and its candidates remains binding despite a fresh election being conducted.
“One of the implications of the Judgment of the Bayelsa Governorship Tribunal nullifying the election of Governor Douye Diri assuming if not vacated by the Supreme Court is that in the event of fresh election the APC is still excluded from participating in view of the supreme Judgment declaring their nomination of David Lyon and his deputy as invalid,” the spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP).
“A fresh election within 90 days as previous courts have held is not an invitation to open fresh nomination or even make substitution because the time frames for that has already been exhausted, but a fresh poll for the purpose of including the excluded candidate to join other validly nominated candidates who met the requirements of nomination before the close of the window for nomination,” he said.