You Can’t Reclaim Bayelsa Through Unorthodox Means, PDP Warns APC

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National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus

•Decries declaration of Diri, Ewhrudjakpo’s seats vacant in Senate
•Says Senate President ought to have waited for S’Court’s decision

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of trying to reclaim Bayelsa State through unconventional means, saying such actions are capable of inciting violence. PDP said the ruling party ought to have, instead, interrogated its deputy governorship candidate in the last governorship poll in Bayelsa State, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, on why he had different names on his credentials.
The Supreme Court had recently voided APC’s overwhelming victory in the state awarded the governorship to PDP, citing technicalities associated with Degi-Eremienyo’s name differentials.

PDP also rejected the declaration of the senatorial seats of its recently sworn-in Governor Diri Douye and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, vacant by the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan. It said the senate president should have awaited the Supreme Court’s verdict on the matter since the ruling party approached the apex court for a review of its judgement on the governorship contest in the National Chairman of PDP, Uche Secondus, in a statement at the weekend, said the ruling APC had left the substance of the matter and was chasing non-issues.

Secondus stated, “The APC is employing many tactics to get what they have lost back. They are busy addressing press conferences. They have refused to ask questions from their candidate on why he is bearing many names in his certificates.
“How does a person bear three different names at three different occasions? You answer a name in primary school, dropped it while writing WAEC exams and took up another name in the university?

“In a sane clime, the party would, first of all, invite the aspirant, question him, scold him for bringing the name of the party into disrepute and condemn him. What else do you do? You then invite the security agencies to probe him or even take him to court to show to the world that you are not fighting corruption by the words of mouth or persecution of the opposition members alone, but by using the big stick against the offending members of your party.
“We want to warn the APC not to set the Niger Delta region on fire with its actions and clandestine moves on Bayelsa. The state has always been a PDP state, including the entire region of South-south.”

Some PDP chieftains have also condemned the declaration of the seats of Diri and his deputy vacant in the senate as hasty. They say the APC-controlled senate should have waited for the Supreme Court to determine the party’s appeal for a review of the decision to sack David Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo on February 13 as governor-elect and deputy governor-elect, respectively.

Lawan had declared the seats of Bayelsa Central and West vacant following the Supreme Court decision sacking the then would-be occupants. The incumbent Bayelsa governor, Diri, represented Bayelsa Central while his deputy, Ewhrudjakpo, represented Bayelsa West.
At a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) last Friday in Abuja, National Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said the electoral umpire would soon pick dates for the conduct of a by-election to fill the two seats.
Yakubu said, “In compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court, the commission has presented Certificates of Return in respect of the governorship elections in Imo and Bayelsa States.

“In the case of Bayelsa State, both the governor and deputy governor were serving senators. Consequently, the commission yesterday, Thursday, 20 February 2020, received two communications from the senate president declaring the seats for Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West Senatorial Districts vacant.
“The commission will soon meet to determine the dates for by-elections in the two senatorial districts.”

But some members of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) said the senate president ought to have waited till the Supreme Court exhausted the appeal by APC. They wondered, “What happens if anything to the contrary happens and the APC wins the review process at the Supreme Court.
“The outright implication is that the PDP has lost two senatorial seats in the Senate. I am not saying that the review will be in favour of APC, but it is better to err on the side of caution.”

APC had on Thursday approached the Supreme Court with a fresh application asking it to reverse its judgement voiding the victory of Lyon in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State. In the application filed on its behalf by its team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), APC is praying the apex court to set aside the “wrong” interpretation given to its judgement of February 13, 2020 and the subsequent execution of the judgement by INEC, which led to the inauguration of Senator Douye Diri of PDP as governor.