Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has held that the Young Democratic Party (YDP) did not have valid candidates for the election in Bayelsa State.
In his judgement on Tuesday, Justice Okon Abang agreed with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that Mr. Omeih Ikoli Ayebanoa who was nominated as the running mate to the party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Sunny Pere Agadabin, did not meet the statutory age requirement for the said office.
Specifically, Justice Abang held that Ayebanoa who declared in his INEC Form CF 001 that he was 34 years old did not meet the statutory age requirement of 35 years as prescribed by sections 177 (b) and 187 (2) of the constitution, to run for the office of the Deputy governor.
The court further held that the purported substitution of candidates made by the party was invalid as it was done outside the September 9, dateline provided by the electoral body.
The party had in a suit dragged the INEC before the court, challenging the rejection of it’s candidates for the election in Bayelsa State.
It prayed the court to among others, declare that INEC is not entitled and empowered under the law to reject or disqualify any candidate nominated by a political party for election.
Part of the prayers is to grant an order mandating INEC to recognise it’s candidates and accord them all the rights and privileges accruing to candidates for the election in Bayelsa State.
The party also asked the court to declare anything done by INEC to infringe on it’s right to nominate and sponsor candidates for the office of Governor and Deputy governor in the election in Bayelsa State unconstitutional, null and void.