Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has threatened to explore every legal window to seek redress to the Supreme Court judgement on Bayelsa State Governor-elect, insisting that the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), candidate or any other party is not qualified to be sworn-in on Friday.
Addressing a press conference at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja, the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said that the judgement did not only lack the fruit of justice but also constitute grave danger to Nigeria democracy.
He insisted that according to the judgement, which ruled that the next party with the highest vote should be issued certificate of return, PDP did not meet the constitutional requirements.
The ruling party boss maintained that as far as APC know, the next candidate which happen to be a PDP candidate does not have one quarter of the total lawful votes cast in that election in two third of the eight Local Government Areas in Bayelsa state.
“As a political party, we respect the rule, we respect and have confidence in the judiciary. However, this judgement lacks the fruits of justice. For me and our party, at the heart of election, is the issue of who did the people actually voted for.
“Is there a case of impersonation on the part of the deputy governor elect? Is there any other person who has come out to claim that name as to raise doubt as to whether this is the deputy governor elect dually elected along with the governor during the Bayelsa governorship election.
“Where justice and democracy thrive on the alter of technicalities, it constitute danger to our democracy. Nobody has raised issues whether David Lyon and his running mates won over whelming majority.
“Issues of whether a chieftaincy title is part of a name or not could not be a reason to dismiss the wishes of the great people of Bayelsa state who reposed absolute confidence in the election of David Lyon and his running mate during the last governorship election.
“It is not a state secret. If as the Supreme Court has ruled, David Lyon cannot be sworn in as governor and that the person who has the highest number of vote and spread be sworn in, it simply means that from tomorrow, there will be no government in Bayelsa state.
“As far as we know, the next candidate who happen to be a PDP candidate does not have one quarter of the total lawful votes cast in that election in two third of the eight local government areas in Bayelsa state.
“Therefore from the facts available to us and in due consultation with our lawyers, it is clear that no candidate meets the requirements of the supreme court which means no one can be sworn in legally tomorrow, unless there is deliberate attempt to abuse the legal process.
“We have accordingly asked our lawyers to look at all the windows that exist in law and take steps to ensure that the will of the people of Bayelsa state is not undermined on the alter of technicalities.
“I am not a lawyer buy I don’t need to be one because when judges make judgement, they are published and once you can read and right, there are some that even layman like me.
“In 1999, there was a similar case in Bauchi involving Governor Adamu Muazu. The court found that his running mate was not qualified for whatever reason to contest that election, and accordingly the supreme court nullified the election of Governor Adamu Muazu and the court as a consequence directed INEC to conduct a fresh election.
“I believe it is still the same supreme court and therefore we have asked our lawyers to explore all lawful legal window to ensure that Bayelsa people have a governor their will chosen.
“I have chosen to make this formal response to this judgement so that we do not leave in particular, the great people of Bayelsa state in doubt as to where we stand – we stand by them. I also want the Nigerian public to know that this is the position of the APC.
“Let me say that this, as bad as the case of Zamfara was, where after we have won the governorship election, the senatorial election, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly election, the court held that APC did not conduct primaries in Zamfara state and therefore did not participate in that election.
“This one is totally different, there is no doubt about the fact that proper elections were conducted. In fact , even the supreme court as so upheld, this is not another Zamfara case and therefore the essential ingredients are different and therefore the outcome and consequences cannot be the same.
“We want to assure not just APC members across the country, who are still in shock over this judgement, we want to assure the Nigerian people that we are a law abiding party, we still believe that the will of Bayelsa people will prevail and there is sufficient legal window to achieve it,” he said.