The Bayelsa Governorship Election Tribunal on Monday, 17th August, annulled the election of Governor Douye Diri.

The Tribunal also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election within 90 days.

This verdict comes after the petition by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) which challenged the victory of Governor Diri in the November 2019 gubernatorial election.

The ANDP claimed that the party was unlawfully exempted from the election.
The three-man panel ruled that INEC does not have the power to disqualify any candidate for an election in a two to one vote.

In its argument, INEC had said that the party’s Deputy Governorship candidate was 34-year-old as at the time of nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest the election.

ANDP told Justice Yunusa Musa, who delivered the lead judgment that its initial Deputy Governorship Candidate, David Esinkuma was duly substituted by the Party within the allowed time frame, following the notification from INEC that he’s under-age.

Justice Musa said that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insisted that the petition of the ANDP stands.

He also added that only a court has the power to disqualify any candidate for any election and that the petition was filed within 21 days, which is the set time for petitions to be filed.

Justice Musa described the action of INEC in removing the ANDP from the Bayelsa Governorship Election as illegal.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo dismissed the petition on technical grounds.