Four days to election, court disqualifies APC deputy governorship candidate in Bayelsa

……APC has no candidate-Ozekhome  

A Federal High Court, Abuja Division, has disqualified the APC deputy governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, from participating in the November 16 governorship election.

The court in a decision on Tuesday said Mr Degi-Eremienyo provided conflicting information in his documents submitted to the electoral commission, INEC. The court agreed with the arguments of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that Mr Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in support of his candidacy to the INEC.

The PDP had asked the court to regard the discrepancies in Mr Degi-Eremienyo’s certificates as major impediments to his candidacy. The Bayelsa governing party accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) running mate of providing different names at all levels of his education.

The PDP alleged in its case brought before Justice Inyang Ekwo that while Mr Degi-Eremienyo’s name was written as Degi Biobara in his primary school certificate, the documents from his secondary education bore Adegi Biobarakumo, as his name, while that of his university education had Degi Biobarakuma as his name. Also, the PDP said the result from his MBA certificate had Degi Biobarakuma Wangaha as the name of the same person.

The court agreed with the PDP that the affidavits sworn to support the changes in the names were insufficient to validate the changes.

The court, therefore, decided that Mr Degi-Eremienyo did not fulfill the requirements for participation in the November 16 elections and thus disqualified him.

According to section 187 (1) of the constitution, a governorship candidate in an election must present a deputy governorship candidate to be considered as haven been validly nominated for governorship.

In an explanation on this section in relation to Tuesday’s judgement, a lawyer, Oghenovo Otemu, said the implication of the disqualification is that the APC no longer has a candidate because the time to submit candidates to INEC had elapsed.

He however noted the right of INEC to an appeal against the judgement.

Another lawyer Hameed Jimoh, however, says the decision of the court regarding the APC running mate cannot be forced on the governorship candidate because the law allows him to nominate a deputy.

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria and constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has explained that the legal effect of the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Bayelsa State under the Constitution and the Electoral Act (except reversed) on appeal, simply means that the APC has no governorship candidate at all in the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial elections.
Ozekhome while reacting to the Federal High Court, Abuja, ruling by Justice Inyang Ekwo disqualifing the deputy  governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, over false information given in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC for the November 16 gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa State said: “In a landmark judgement, in a suit instituted by the PDP against the APC candidate, David Lyon and his running mate, Biobarakuma, the judge found and held that Biobarakuma gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and went ahead to depose to an affidavit to correct the discrepancies. The judge held that all his documents bore different names and therefore disqualified him from contesting the forthcoming governorship elections.
“The legal effect of the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Bayelsa State under the Constitution and the Electoral Act (except reversed) on appeal, simply means that the APC has no governorship candidate at all in the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial elections. The reason is simple. By virtue of section 187(1) of the 1999 Constitution,’a candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor, who is to occupy the office of Deputy Governor and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of Deputy Governor if the candidate who nominated him is duly elected as Governor in accordance with the said provisions’.
“Section 186 which precedes this section 187 creates the office of Deputy Governor. Section 187(2)  emphatically states that all the provisions regarding qualification for election, tenure of office, disqualifications, declaration of assets and liabilities and oath of Governor shall equally apply to the office of Deputy Governor as if references to Governor were references to Deputy Governor.
“What this simply means is that any ticket devoid of a joint running mate is automatically invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever, because it is simply unconstitutional. The Constitution envisions and has deliberately made a governorship candidate to be a siamese twin with the deputy governorship candidate in any election, sharing the same unbreakable umbilical cord. One without the other is not competent to contest. It will tantamount to  a futile attempt to play Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark or to argue that six is not the same as half a dozen. Where a governorship candidate cannot therefore produce a deputy governorship candidate, his candidature lapses into historical electoral oblivion. His aspiration abates and dies prematurely and completely. As dead as dodo. This is the law. No sentiments about it. No lachrymal effusion. No politics.”
……APC has no candidate-Ozekhome  
Senior Advocate of Nigeria and constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has explained that the legal effect of the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Bayelsa State under the Constitution and the Electoral Act (except reversed) on appeal, simply means that the APC has no governorship candidate at all in the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial elections.
Ozekhome while reacting to the Federal High Court, Abuja, ruling by Justice Inyang Ekwo disqualifing the deputy  governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, over false information given in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC for the November 16 gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa State said: “In a landmark judgement, in a suit instituted by the PDP against the APC candidate, David Lyon and his running mate, Biobarakuma, the judge found and held that Biobarakuma gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and went ahead to depose to an affidavit to correct the discrepancies. The judge held that all his documents bore different names and therefore disqualified him from contesting the forthcoming governorship elections.
“The legal effect of the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Bayelsa State under the Constitution and the Electoral Act (except reversed) on appeal, simply means that the APC has no governorship candidate at all in the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial elections. The reason is simple. By virtue of section 187(1) of the 1999 Constitution,’a candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor, who is to occupy the office of Deputy Governor and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of Deputy Governor if the candidate who nominated him is duly elected as Governor in accordance with the said provisions’.
“Section 186 which precedes this section 187 creates the office of Deputy Governor. Section 187(2)  emphatically states that all the provisions regarding qualification for election, tenure of office, disqualifications, declaration of assets and liabilities and oath of Governor shall equally apply to the office of Deputy Governor as if references to Governor were references to Deputy Governor.
“What this simply means is that any ticket devoid of a joint running mate is automatically invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever, because it is simply unconstitutional. The Constitution envisions and has deliberately made a governorship candidate to be a siamese twin with the deputy governorship candidate in any election, sharing the same unbreakable umbilical cord. One without the other is not competent to contest. It will tantamount to  a futile attempt to play Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark or to argue that six is not the same as half a dozen. Where a governorship candidate cannot therefore produce a deputy governorship candidate, his candidature lapses into historical electoral oblivion. His aspiration abates and dies prematurely and completely. As dead as dodo. This is the law. No sentiments about it. No lachrymal effusion. No politics.”

PREMIUM TIMES/THE SUN

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