It was another victory for David Lyon, the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, in the November 16 governorship election of Bayelsa State on Saturday as the Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt affirmed his candidacy for the election.
The court gave the ruling while delivering its judgment in the petition filed by Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri challenging the outcome of the APC governorship primary election which produced Lyon.
Lokpobiri was also a contestant in the gubernatorial primary.
But the court said Lokpobiri’s petition against the APC candidate, who is the Governor elect of Bayelsa was filed out of time.
Justice Isaiah Olefemi who read the judgment said that Lokpobiri failed to comply with the statutory 14 days period for filing of the petition.
According to the Appeal Court, Lokpobiri ought to have filed the case against the gubernatorial primary not later than Sept. 17, 2019 which was 14 days after the exercise was conducted.
“The matter was filed on Sept. 18, outside the 14 days statutory period. The petition was not filed within time,’’ he said.
It will be recalled that Lokpobiri, a former Minister of State for Agriculture, had approached a Federal High Court, challenging the emergence of Chief David Lyon as the governorship candidate of the APC in Bayelsa.
He had prayed the court to declare him the candidate of the APC, saying that he and not Lyon won the party’s governorship primaries in the state.
The lower court had ruled outside its prayers, declaring that APC had no candidate for the election.
The appeal court, however, held that although Lokpobiri had the right to contest the outcome of the party’s governorship primaries, he only did so outside the stipulated time.
The court further held that the parties were right to challenge the lower court’s decision which said that APC had no candidate for the Nov. 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa.
It consequently, set aside the judgment of the lower court, describing it as having erred in law.
The judgment was also a setback for expectations of the state chapter of Peoples Democratic Party to gain through the court what it lost in the November 16 governorship election.
Though the candidate of PDP, Douye Diri, lost to Lyon in the election, the party had hoped that the court of Appeal will affirm the judgment of the lower court and declared that APC had no candidate in the election.
PDP had hoped for the repeat of the Zamfara scenario where as a result of such declaration, the opposition candidate who came second at the ballot was declared the winner and sworn into office.
PDP will now have to attempt to overturn Lyon’s victory at the Tribunal as it has already vowed to challenge the victory of the APC candidate.