Bayelsa guber: Maintain status quo antebellum, Appeal Court tells parties

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division has ordered a stay of action on the last Tuesday judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja which disqualified the Bayelsa State deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, from contesting the November 16, 2019 governorship election over false information in his CF0001 form submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) to contest the election.

Ruling in an ex parte motion filed by Degi-Eremienyo & Anor vs PDP & 4 Ors before the Court of Appeal, filed by Damian Dodo (SAN), the panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Stephen Adah ordered that status quo antebellum which existed on or before the 19th September, 2019 when the suit was filed be maintained pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

The appellate court also granted an interim order for stay of the judgment of the lower court delivered on 12th November 2019 pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.

The appellate court also ordered that:” The Motion on Notice to be heard on 20th November 2019 and the Respondents to be served with the Motion on Notice and copy of the Court Order.”

It would be recalled that Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday disqualified the Bayelsa State deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, from contesting the November 16, 2019 governorship election over false information in his CF0001 form submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) to contest the election.

The judge, in the judgment held that there were discrepancies in the certificates Degi-Eremienyo submitted to secure clearance for participation in the election slated for Saturday.

The court said there was no nexus in the name on his school-leaving certificate, first degree (BA), Masters and the affidavits he swore to his name.

ALSO READ: Reps approve virement of N100m from National Assembly personnel allocations

Justice Ekwo further held that all his documents bore different names and disqualified him on the ground that he provided false information to the electoral body to stand for the election.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had, in its suit, which has the Bayelsa APC governorship candidate, David Lyon, Degi-Eremienyo and INEC as respondents, prayed the court to disqualify Degi-Eremienyo from participating in the election as the deputy governorship candidate of the party, a request, the court granted.

Justice Ekwo held that the name on his school-leaving certificate obtained in 1978, the one on his WAEC/GCE in 1984 as well as his first degree and master’s certificates were all different.

The judge further held: “That the information given by the 3rd defendant on Form CF.001 that the documents thereto attached as his have not by any iota of credible evidence been so established.

“The information is false in all material particular as none of the said documents has any nexus with the name of the 3rd defendant on the said Form CF001. It is common knowledge that CF001 is validated by oath before it can be acceptable by INEC.

“The consequence of lying on oath is grave.”, Justice Ekwo said and further held that: “Where a candidate is found to have lied on oath, a court must issue an order disqualifying such a candidate from contesting the election.

“A declaration is hereby made that the information which the 3rd defendant submitted to the 2nd defendant in his INEC Form CF001, that, affidavit in support of personal particulars of person seeking election to the office of the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State is false contrary to section 31(5) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).

“A declaration is hereby made that by virtue of the mandatory constitutional and statutory provisions of sections 6(6) and 187(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the 3rd defendant, who swore on oath vide his 2019 INEC Form CF001 – affidavit in support of Personal Particulars of persons seeking election to the Office of the Deputy Governor that he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1976 and presented to the 2nd defendant a First Leaving School Certificate of one Degi Biobaragha other than the one bearing his name Biobaragha Degi-Eremieoyo as shown in his INEC Form CF001, has presented false information to the 2nd defendant contrary to the provisions of section 31(5) and (6) of the 2010, Electoral Act (as amended).

“A declaration is hereby made that the 3rd defendant cannot present his names, official documents and, or educational certificates to the 1st and 2d defendants in the following variations as: (a.) Biobarakum Degi-Eremienyo (b) Degi Biobaragha, Degi Biobarakuma, Adegi Biobakunmo, Degi-Eremienyo Wangagha all variously contained in different certificates or personal documents being paraded by the 3rd defendant and presented documents bearing all the said names to the 1st and 2nd defendants without any valid change of name.”

The court further declared that by virtue of the mandatory constitutional and statutory provisions of sections 6(6) and 187(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and section 31(5) and (6) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended), the 3rd defendant, who swore on oath vide his 2019 INEC Form CF001 – affidavit in support of Personal Particulars of persons seeking election to the Office of the Deputy Governor that he obtained his West African Examinations Council General Certificate of Education in 1984 and presented to the 2nd defendant a GCE certificate of bearing a name other than Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo as shown in his INEC Form CF001, has presented false information in support of his nomination to the 2nd defendant contrary to section 31(5) and (6) f the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).

“A declaration is hereby made that by virtue of the mandatory constitutional and statutory provisions of sections 6(6), 186 and 187(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the 3rd defendant stands disqualified from contesting the forthcoming Bayelsa State Governorship election as Deputy Governor, slated for November 16, 2019 or any other state thereabout on the platform of the 1st defendant or any other political party by reason of the fact that the 3rd defendant has presented false information as to his educational qualifications or name in INEC Form CF001 in support of his nomination contrary to section 31(5) and (6) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).

“An order is hereby made disqualifying the 3rd defendant as the Deputy Governorship candidate of the 1st defendant in the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa State governorship election by reason of the 3rd defendant presenting false information to the 2nd defendant (INEC) in support of his nomination contrary to section 31(5) and (6) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended),” the court held.

Comments