Despite the ruling of Justice Jane Inyang of a Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa, that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not be fielding a candidate in the governorship election slated for Saturday, November 16, 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that the party will participate in the governorship election.
“APC will participate in the election in Bayelsa State,” INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye said.
As earlier reported, the court ruled that APC has no candidate for the election following a disagreement between the party governorship aspirants over the party’s primaries.
Lokpobiri gets a shocker in court (Premium Times)
Heineken Lokpobiri, one of the APC governorship aspirants, had approached the court to declare him, and not David Lyon, as the authentic candidate of the APC.
When Lokpobiri’s lawyer, Fitzgerald Olorogun, emerged from the courtroom on Thursday, November 14, he told reporters that the court gave a strange ruling instead.
“The court pronounced that the governorship primary conducted by the APC in Bayelsa state was not done in compliance with the guidelines and the constitution of the party, and, therefore, the party has no candidate,” said Olorogun.
A shocked Olorogun added that the judge’s ruling was not part of the prayers they sought. “It’s strange,” he said.
Asked what was next for his client and the APC, Olorogun said: “we’ll do the needful. But for now, the pronouncement of the court is that APC has no candidate.”
INEC interprets ruling
Interpreting the court ruling, the INEC spokesperson stated that the ruling doesn’t mean APC should not participate in the election.
“APC will be on the ballot paper. The court only says the two candidates are not eligible. But we don’t have candidates on the ballot papers. We only have logos of parties and those are what will be there,” Okoye added.
Okoye also said that all the sensitive materials, including ballot papers, have already been deployed to the state for the election.
Should APC win, Bayelsa would likely be the subject of a legal battle between Lyon and Lokpobiri to determine the authentic flag-bearer of the party.
Lokpobiri and Lyon of the APC are campaigning for their party in the state against Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).