HEADLINE | Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020
he Supreme Court on Thursday nullified the election of Bayelsa State governor-elect David Lyon and his deputy-elect Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.
The court sacked Lyon for contesting the election on a joint ticket with Degi-Eremienyo, whom it said forged the certificate he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Federal High Court in Abuja had earlier disqualified Degi-Eremienyo from the election for the same reason.
Justice Iyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, November 12 disqualified Degi-Eremienyo for allegedly supplying false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The judge said Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and held that all his documents bore different names.
Degi-Eremienyo, however, challenged the high court verdict that restrained him from participating in the election the APC won.
But a three-man panel of the appeal court chaired by Justice Stephen Adah ruled that the high court erred in law and in breach of the appellant's right to a fair hearing and reversed the judgement.
Justice Adah said the case which was brought under Section 36 of the Electoral Act is criminal in nature and the respondents in the case ought to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Senator Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in his form C001 submitted to INEC as part of his qualifications to contest the election.
"I agree with the appellant that the owner of the school leaving certificate and the GCE certificate are one and the same and I, therefore, set aside the judgment of the court below," Justice Adah said.
The court said Degi-Eremienyo submitted an affidavit to prove that the names Adeyi-Eremienyo on his school-leaving certificate are the same as Degi-Eremienyo on his GCE certificate and newspaper cuttings announcing a change of name.
Upholding the high court’s judgement, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Lyon.
The court ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to the Peoples Democratic Party's candidate Senator Douye Diri who came second in the election.