Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
With the Supreme Court set to hear the application of review of the Supreme Court judgment of Senator Heineken Lokpobiri against the All Progressive Congress (APC), there is anxiety in the state as to the outcome.
Lokpobiri, a former Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, and governorship aspirant in Bayelsa State had dragged the APC and Chief David Lyon to court arguing that he should be declared the governorship candidate of the party.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday, February 11th, dismissed Lokpobiri ‘s appeal filed at the apex court, praying it to upturn the Court of Appeal judgment which affirmed Lyon as the governorship candidate of the APC.
A five-man panel of the court led by Justice Mary Peter Odili had unanimously dismissed the appeal filed Lokpobiri.
Justice Inyang Okoro, who delivered the lead ruling affirmed on January 11th, 2020, the judgment of the Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal, which held that Lokpobiri’s suit challenging Lyon’s victory in the September 4 primary election was filed out of time.
Lokpobiri had through his counsel approached the apex court with an application calling for a review of the February 11th judgment.
A notice sent out by one Ukor Michael Akan on behalf of the Hon Chief Registrar to all the parties indicated that the application for review would be held on Tuesday, March 24th.
“Please kindly note that your case SC/CV/35/2020, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri VS All Progressives Congress is slated for Tuesday 24/03/2020/,” it read.
Investigation revealed that the call for review is causing ripples as Lokpobiri has refused all entreaties by PDP leaders in the state to drop his review application.
Lokpobiri was also said to have rebuffed all attempts to pacify him with cabinet positions in the bid to drop this decision to approach the Supreme Court for a review of its judgment.
Lokpobiri had filed a suit at the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, challenging the emergence of Lyon as the governorship candidate and asking the court to declare him the winner of the APC governorship primary election, having complied with the guidelines of the party.
The presiding judge, Jane Inyang, had, however, on November 14th, 2019 ruled that the APC did not conduct a valid governorship primary election.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, Lokpobiri had approached the appeal court in Port Harcourt to upturn the high court ruling, but the three-man panel led by Justice Isaiah Olufemi instead affirmed Lyon as the duly nominated candidate of the APC, ruling that Lokpobiri’s suit was stature barred.
Lokpbiri had filed an appeal to the Supreme Court which dismissed his case on February 11th.