By Vivian Okejeme
The Supreme Court, yesterday upheld the Bayelsa State governorship primaries election that produced Governor David Lyon, as the valid candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC) in the last governorship election in the state.
The appellant, Heineken Lokpobiri, was before the Supreme court, seeking to be declared the valid winner of September 4, 2019, primary election of the APC in Bayelsa state.
The former minister had claimed that the party wrongly gave the ticket to Gov Lyon, who eventually contested and won the governorship election.
A five-man panel of the court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, in unanimous decision held that the appellant filed his case outside the 14 days provided by law.
Therefore, the judgment read by Justice Inyang Okoro, declared the appeal status barred and dismissed it for lacking in merit.
Laying to rest the dispute about the APC’s nominated candidate for the governorship, Justice Okoro held
‘’The sole issue is resolved against the appellant, accordingly the appeal lacks merit and hereby dismissed.
Recall that the apex court affirmed the January 11, 2020 judgement of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, which had held that Lokpobiri’s suit challenging Lyon’s victory in the primary election was filed out of time at the Federal High Court, Yenogoa.
The Federal High Court in Yenegoa had in its judgment delivered on November 14, 2019, upheld Lokpobiri’s case and nullified Lyon’s nomination as the APC’s candidate for the November 17, 2019 governorship election in the state.
However, the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, on January 11, 2019, set aside the Federal High Court judgement and affirmed Lyon’s nomination.
Irked by the Appeal court decision, Lokpobiri approached the supreme court asking it to declare him the winner of the said election.
In his argument through his counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, the appellant submitted that the appeal by his client was yet to be determined before APC submitted the name of Mr Lyon to the Independent Electoral Commission(INEC).