All was set at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Bayelsa for the coronation of a new Bayelsa government to be led by the All Progressives Congress, APC, governor-elect, David Lyon. Less than 24 hours, he was supposed to be sworn in as governor, this has been the dream of his life. APC faithful were in high spirit preparing for the governor-elect’s grand inauguration on Friday.
The governor-elect had earlier visited the proposed venue for his inauguration at Samson Siasia Stadium, where he rehearsed for the ceremony. The invitation cards were ready and had been sent out for the day of coronation. Lyon had been the toast of everybody, he was in high spirit and nothing was supposed to stop this coronation now.
Alas! it happened, the harbinger of bad news, wielding a heavy hammer, the nation’s Supreme Court, descended the hammer and dashed all hopes. It was shocking and a controversial judgment, the Supreme Court had just nullified the election of Lyon and declare the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Senator Douye Diri as the winner of the November 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa.
Not that the Lyon won the election through the backyard door. He had won the election by a landslide, after the people of the State were disenchanted with the eight-year reign of Governor Seriake Dickson. Lyon had polled 352,552 to defeat his rival from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Douye Diri, who got 143,172 votes.
Before the last governorship election, Lyon and his running mate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo were disqualified by the court as not fit to contest the election, but they got injunctions to contest the poll. Not only that, the Supreme Court last week ruled that Lyon was the authentic candidate of the APC.
The problem lied with the deputy governor-elect. He was declared unqualified by the Federal High Court before the election and he won at the Appeal Court.
But the apex court upheld the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which disqualified Degi-Eremienyo in the election for submitting forged certificates to INEC.
The court ruled Degi-Eremienyo’s disqualification had infected the joint ticket with which he and the governorship candidate, Lyon, ran for and won the November 16, 2019 election. The Apex Court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the All Progressives Congress’ candidates as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
The Supreme Court’s judgment appears questionable. How can the disqualification of a running mate in an election affect the joint ticket? Why did James Faleke, who was running mate to Abubakar Audu not made the governor? Audu died after the election was declared inconclusive, but the APC chose Yahaya Bello to take over Audu’s place and became the governor. Faleke never got judgment at the Supreme Court.
In whatever way, the Supreme Court’s judgment has left a bitter pill for the Bayelsa people to swallow after they unanimously gave their votes to Lyon. It will be a day Lyon will never forget. He was so close to being coronated, but the governorship crown was forcefully ejected from him.