The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Friday dismissed the appeal filed by Ebizimo Diriyai, the candidate of Accord Party, against the election of Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State.
The appellate court dismissed the appeal on the grounds that the allegation of certificate forgery brought against Ewhrudjakpo by Accord Party were not proven beyond reasonable doubt as required by the law on criminal allegations.
Delivering judgment in the appeal, Justice Folasade Ojo agreed with Ewhrudjakpo’s counsel, Chukwuma Machukwu-Umeh (SAN), that the case of the party was statute barred.
The court also held that the case was incompetent having been filed outside the 14 days stipulated by the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Ojo also agreed with Machukwu-Umeh that the National Youth Service Corps and the Department of State Services had separately confirmed in their reports that mere correction was effected in the name of the deputy governor as contained in his exemption certificate.
The appellate court agreed that the allegations were weighty in nature as it could lead to automatic disqualification and also agreed that there was no evidence to establish how a mere correction in the spelling of a name transformed into forgery.
The court therefore dismissed the appeal of the Accord Party and its governorship candidate in its entirety for being incompetent and lacking in merit.
The court also dismissed the petition of the Alliance for Democracy and Liberation Movement alongside their governorship candidates based on the same reasons.
Earlier, the court had reversed the nullification of the election Governor Duoye Diri by setting aside the judgment of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal of August 17, which nullified the November 16 governorship election that produced Diri as the governor.