Bayelsa Guber: APC Has no Candidate, Ozekhome Explains High Court Judgement

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A human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome has said Tuesday’s judgement of a Federal High Court in Abuja that disqualified the Deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the November 16 gubernatorial election, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo meant that the party has no governorship candidate.

Ozekhome in his reaction to the judgement said the constitution and the electoral act stipulates that a candidate running for a gubernatorial election must have a running mate that is validly nominated.

He said, “In a landmark judgement, in a suit instituted by the PDP against the APC candidate, David Lyon and his running mate, Biobarakuma, the judge found and held that Biobarakuma gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and went ahead to depose to an affidavit to correct the discrepancies.

“The judge held that all his documents bore different names and therefore disqualified him from contesting the forthcoming governorship elections.

“The legal effect of the disqualification of the deputy governorship candidate of the APC in Bayelsa State under the Constitution and the Electoral Act (except reversed) on appeal, simply means that the APC has no governorship candidate at all in the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial elections.”

“The reason is simple. By virtue of section 187(1) of the 1999 Constitution,’a candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor, who is to occupy the office of Deputy Governor and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of Deputy Governor if the candidate who nominated him is duly elected as Governor in accordance with the said provisions.”

“Section 186 which precedes this section 187 creates the office of Deputy Governor. Section 187(2)  emphatically states that all the provisions regarding qualification for election, tenure of office, disqualifications, declaration of assets and liabilities and oath of Governor shall equally apply to the office of Deputy Governor as if references to Governor were references to Deputy Governor.

“What this simply means is that any ticket devoid of a joint running mate is automatically invalid, null, void and of no effect whatsoever, because it is simply unconstitutional. The Constitution envisions and has deliberately made a governorship candidate to be a Siamese twin with the deputy governorship candidate in any election, sharing the same unbreakable umbilical cord.

“One without the other is not competent to contest. It will tantamount to  a futile attempt to play Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark or to argue that six is not the same as half a dozen.”

“Where a governorship candidate cannot therefore produce a deputy governorship candidate, his candidature lapses into historical electoral oblivion. His aspiration abates and dies prematurely and completely. As dead as dodo. This is the law. No sentiments about it. No lachrymal effusion. No politics.”

Justice Inyang Ekwo had disqualified Degi-Eremienyo on the grounds that he provided false information in the form CF001 he submitted to the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC).

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