Bayelsa’s Governor Duoye Diri files appeal election tribunal judgement

Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State, has filed 11 grounds of appeal against Monday’s judgment of the state’s governorship election petition tribunal which sacked him from office.

NewsWireNGR had reported that the tribunal sitting in Abuja had nullified Diri’s election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a fresh poll within 90 days.

The three-man tribunal, in a split decision of two-to-one, had the majority nullify the November 16, 2019 election as a result of the unlawful exclusion of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party and its candidate, King George, from the exercise.

Two judges on the panel – Justices Yunusa Musa and Sikiru Owoduni – in upholding the petition filed by the ANDP, held that INEC lacked the power to exclude any party from an election.

But the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, in his dissenting judgment, dismissed ANDP’s petition.

The Punch reports that the Governor, through his lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), on Tuesday, filed a notice of appeal containing 11 grounds at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, contending that the judges who delivered the tribunal’s majority judgment erred in law.

He urged the court to set aside the majority judgment and affirm Justice Sirajo’s minority judgment of the tribunal.

The appellant contended among others that the tribunal erred in law when it held that ANDP’s petition was not statute-barred.

According to the appellant, the cause of action arose on November 16, 2019, being the election day from which ANDP claimed to have been excluded and the party had 21 days within which to file their petition but did not file the petition until more than five months after.

The governor’s lawyer maintained that the ANDP’s petition was statute-barred, in breach of the provisions of section 285(5) of the Nigerian Constitution.

He also argued that the tribunal erred in its majority judgment that ANDP’s candidates for the November 16, 2019 election were validly nominated.

The appellant urged the Court of Appeal, to “set aside the entire majority decision of the tribunal (per Hon. Justice Yunsa Musa and Hon. Justice S. M Owodunni) appealed against and to dismiss the 1st respondent’s petition”.

He also urged the court to “uphold the minority judgment of the Chairman of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, Hon. Justice Muhammed I. Sirajo which clearly appreciated the law and correctly applied the same to the facts, and rightly dismissed the petition”.

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