Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will on Friday (today) know their fate at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, in the disputed November 16, 2019 governorship election.
The five-man panel, being headed by Justice Adriza Mshella, will deliver judgment.
Machukwu Umeh, SAN, a senior lawyer in the matter, confirmed that the court had communicated the October 2 date to all the parties involved.
On August 17, the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal annulled Diri’s election and ordered a fresh one.
The PDP, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and Diri have pleaded that the poll and its outcome be affirmed.
Diri’s counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, in the lead appeal argued that the case of the first respondent was statute barred as at the time it was filed.
According to him, the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, ANDP, suit was a breach of the constitution because it was based on an attempt to field two underaged candidates contrary to constitutional provisions.
The SAN contended that when INEC disqualified ANDP from participating in the election, the party did not challenge the disqualification until February 2020, which he noted was more than the 14 days allowed by law.
Uche urged the appellate court to set aside the majority decision of the tribunal which invalidated Diri’s election and uphold the minority judgment which he stressed was based on sound reasoning and law.
PDP counsel, Yunus Ustaz, SAN, drew the attention of the court to the ANDP National Chairman’s affidavit.
He said the official admitted that the party didn’t contest in the November 16 poll and that if a rerun is ordered, the ANDP has nothing to gain because the case has become academic.
INEC lawyer, Ibrahim Bawa, SAN, informed the court that the alteration done to section 285 of the 1999 constitution restored power of the electoral body to screen and disqualify any candidate wrongly nominated by a party.
Bawa prayed the court to affirm the constitutional provisions empowering INEC to disqualify candidate(s) in an election.
ANDP lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, SAN, while asking the court to uphold the majority decision of the tribunal which voided the poll, insisted that candidate of the ANDP was lawfully nominated and conveyed to INEC.