By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has presented Certificate of Return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s candidate, Douye Diri, as winner of the Bayelsa 2019 governorship election, in compliance with the Supreme Court judgment.
Diri was presented the certificate of return by National Commissioner in charge of South/South, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, on Friday at INEC headquarters in Abuja.
Earlier, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had declared Diri winner of the state governorship election.
Yakubu said INEC had received the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement of the apex court, which disqualified the Deputy Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and vitiated the joint ticket of the party earlier declared winner in the election.
“The court also ordered the commission to “declare as winner of the governorship election in Bayelsa State the candidate with the highest number of lawful votes cast with the requisite constitutional (or geographical spread).”
“In compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court, the commission met this morning and reviewed the result of the election in which 45 political parties contested.
“Without the votes scored by the APC, whose candidates were deemed not to have participated in the election, the total number of lawful and valid votes cast in the election now stands at 146,999.
“Out of this figure, the candidate of the PDP scored the highest number of lawful votes with 143,172.
“Similarly, the party had scored more than 25 per cent of the lawful votes cast in all the eight Local Government Areas of the state.
“Furthermore, the total number of registered voters in places where election was not held or cancelled as a result of sundry violations is 90,822.
“The candidate of the Accord Party has the next highest score with 1,339 votes.
“The margin of lead between the candidates of the PDP and the Accord party is 141,833 votes. With this outcome, the election is conclusive at first ballot.
“Consequently, Sen. Diri and Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of the PDP are hereby declared winners and returned elected as Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively, ” he stated.
Yusuf said that detailed result would be uploaded on INEC’s website and social media platforms shortly.
He said that the commission was aware that the tenure of the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa ended at midnight Friday Feb. 14.
Receiving the certificate, Diri commended INEC and the judiciary for being the “last hope of the common man.”
“We pray and hope that God will heal our land, Bayelsa, and Nigeria. God has taken us through wide road and the road has taught us reconciliation, lessons” Diri said.
The Supreme Court on Thursday sacked David Lyon and Sen. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, as governor and deputy governor-elect in the Nov. 16, 2019 Bayelsa governorship election.
Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgment, reinstated the Nov. 12, 2019, judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which disqualified Degi-Eremieoyo from participating in the governorship poll.
The court held that the trial court was right in finding the deputy guilty of presenting false information to INEC.
The Justice Mary Odili-led panel, held that no person shall be qualified to contest election if he presented false information for the purpose of election.
The apex court ordered that the certificate of return be withdrawn immediately from the governor and his deputy and be issued to the candidate with the second highest votes in the Nov. 16, 2019 election.
NAN reports that Diri was accompanied to INEC by some party leaders and his supporters.(NAN)