The Supreme Court will today commence hearing of the application brought before it by the All Progressives Congress (APC), seeking a review of its February 13, 2020 judgment which overturned its victory in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Already, parties in the matter had been served with the notice for the scheduled Wednesday’s hearing.
The disputed apex court’s judgment was delivered barely 24 hours to the inauguration of the party’s governorship candidate, David Lyon, and his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, scheduled to hold on February 14, 2020.
The five-man panel of justices of the apex court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili disqualified Degi-Eremienyo’s candidacy and ruled that the disqualification had rendered the joint ticket held by him and the governorship candidate a nullity.
Delivering the lead judgment, Justice Ejembi Eko disqualified Degi-Eremienyo’s candidacy for presenting false information about his educational qualifications in his Form CF001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to qualify him as a candidate for the 2019 election.
The former deputy governor-elect was said to have presented certificates with different names and inconsistent with the name on the Form CF.001 submitted to the electoral body.
But the APC, through its lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), supported by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), had on February 20, filed an application before the Supreme Court contending that the apex court gave a wrong interpretation to the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which was affirmed in the February 13, 2020 apex court’s judgment.
Olanipekun contended that the November 12, 2019 verdict of the Federal High Court affirmed by the apex court did not nullify the party’s ticket and argued that the apex court denied his client fair hearing by disqualifying its governorship candidate even when the Federal High Court in Abuja refused to grant such order even though it was sought by the plaintiffs that filed the suit.
The party said, “In this honourable court’s judgment of February 13, 2020, the court erroneously and inadvertently stated that the trial High Court consequentially disqualified the applicant‘s governorship candidate even though the trial court made no such order and when the trial court indeed refused to grant the express orders sought by the plaintiffs therein for his disqualification.”
The party argued that the Supreme Court lacked the jurisdiction to give the order it gave and also faulted the interpretation of the Supreme Court judgment by INEC which declared the PDP the winner of the election and subsequently issued the party’s governorship and deputy governorship candidates certificates of return.
The apex court had, in nullifying APC’s victory, restored and affirmed the earlier judgment of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which disqualified Degi-Eremienyo’s candidacy.
He set aside the December 23, 2019 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which had contrary to the Federal High Court’s decision validated the former deputy governor-elect’s candidacy.
The appeal ruled upon by the Supreme Court was filed by the Peoples Democratic Party, its governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the party, Duiye Diri, and his running mate, Lawrence Ewhruojakpo.
The PDP and its candidates were declared the winner of the election in the place of APC and its candidates.