The Court of Appeal that met in Abuja on Friday confirmed the election of Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa and overturned the ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Election of Governor of Bayelsa that annulled Diri’s election.
A five-member panel of court judges reversed the annulment of Diri’s election on the grounds that the petition filed by the Nigerian Advanced Democratic Party (ANDP), which led to the annulment, was prescribed.
The panel, in a unanimous judgment delivered by Judge Obande Ogbunya, held that the majority judgment of the court erred in law when it held that ANDP’s petition was not prescribed by law.
The court, in a two-to-one sentence on August 17, annulled the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa on the grounds that the ANDP was excluded from the vote.
Consequently, the court had ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hold a new election within 90 days.
Diri, however, approached the appeals court to overturn the majority’s ruling as flawed.
The appeals court held that there was sufficient evidence to show that ANDP’s case was prescribed by law, as the party had not submitted its petition within the 14 days provided by law.
Ogbunya in the judge agreed with Diri, the appellant, that the ANDP case that had to be presented within 14 days was presented five months after the cause of the event.
For another reason for the appeal, Judge Ogbunya also agreed with the appellant that INEC was correct in excluding ANDP from the November 16 poll of governors.
This was due to the disqualification of the candidate for lieutenant governor of the ANDP, who was apparently a minor at the time of the election.
Judge Ogbunya held that overall, Diri’s case had merit and subsequently affirmed his election as Governor of Bayelsa.
In addition, he overturned the majority court ruling that annulled the November 16 vote for governor and ordered new elections.