Bayelsa Election: Court Hears Fresh Suit To Stop Gov Diri’s Governorship Bid

Less than nine days to the Bayelsa governorship election, a fresh suit seeking the disqualification of Governor Douye Diri and his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has commenced at a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja.

The suit, presently before Justice Emeka Nwite, sought an order of mandatory injunction, directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove the names of Diri and Ewhrudjakpo as PDP’s candidates in the Nov. 11 poll.

It also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC, its agents, privies or whosoever, from further publishing their names as standard bearers for the party in the forthcoming election in Bayelsa.

The suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1448/23 and filed by a Bayelsan woman, Blessing Clement Azibanagbal, through her lawyer, Ifeanyi Nsowu, further sought a declaration that Ewhrudjakpo was not qualified to run as deputy governor under the PDP.

Azibanagbal, in the originating summons dated Oct. 26 and filed on Oct. 30, sought a declaration that Ewhrudjakpo was also not qualified to be a running mate with Diri.

Besides, she prayed the court to declare that Ewhrudjakpo had multiple names without any evidence to prove “that he is the same person.”

She, therefore, urged the court to declare that the PDP had no candidate in the poll.

The suit, which was brought under Rule 3, Order 9 of the FHC Civil Procedure Rules, 2019, sought “a declaration that the 3rd defendant (PDP) does not have any qualified candidate to run for the governorship election in Bayelsa.”

Gov. Diri, Ewhrudjakpo, PDP and INEC are 1st to 4th defendants, respectively in the matter, raising five issues for determination, Azibanagbal asked whether a first school leaving certificate holder can run for the governorship election of a state in line with the provision of the 1999 Constitution.

“Whether the failure of the 1st (Diri); and 3rd defendants (PDP) to provide a candidate that has the qualification to run for the governorship of a state can be grounds to disqualify both candidates.

“Whether a candidate with multiple names without any evidence to substantiate the names can contest for governorship election in a state.
“Whether the 2nd defendant (Ewhrudjakpo), submitting only his first school leaving certificate in his Form EC9 submitted with INEC qualifies him to contest election as deputy governor of Bayelsa State.

“Considering issues 1 to 4 above, whether this honourable ¢court has jurisdiction to order the 4th defendant to remove the names of 1st and 2nd defendants as candidates in the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State,” it read.

Subsequently, the Judge adjourned the matter until November 30 for hearing.