Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State
By Chuks Okocha and Tobi Soniyi
The Supreme Court Monday dismissed the suit filed by the Change Advocacy Party and its governorship candidate, Imoro Kabbi, challenging the victory of Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State in the February 11 governorship election.
CAP had approached the court to challenge the nomination of Dickson, insisting that he was not the standard bearer of the PDP for the election.
The appellants through their counsel, Ricky Tarfa, had based their arguments on the ground that there was a pending suit against the primary election which brought Dickson as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.
They prayed the court to void the said primary.
But the court in a judgment delivered by Justice Walter Onoghen upheld the nomination of Dickson by the PDP, stating that the court would only be bound by the pleadings before it.
He added that Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provided for what qualified a person to contest for the position of a governor.
He listed the qualifications as: being a citizen of Nigeria by birth, such person must have attained 30 years of age, must be a member of political party and must have been duly nominated by such party and that such person must possess at least Secondary School Leaving Certificate.
The court further held that the appellants contradicted when they admitted that Dickson won the February 11 governorship.
Meanwhile, the PDP has congratulated Dickson on the judgment of the court.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, the party said the Supreme Court judgment was not only a victory for the people of Bayelsa who gave him their mandate but an endorsement of the inviolability of a just and properly constituted internal democratic process of the party.
He said, “Our great party is ever mindful of the noble responsibility which our leadership position confers on us. Our determination on the entrenchment of internal democracy as a fundamental to every party process is clear.
“This firm resolve shall not waver. This judgment of the Supreme Court is therefore an incentive on our resolve to build a better party.
“The PDP rejoices with Governor Dickson and the entire people of Bayelsa on this well deserved victory. It is our expectation that with this distraction off the way, the governor who hit the ground running, will only increase the tempo of massive infrastructural development that has literally turned Beyelsa into a huge construction yard,” the PDP statement concluded.
The party further commended Dickson on his development strides and urged him to remain focused.