Bayelsa: Supreme Court strikes out APC motion for expansion of panel

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a motion filed by the  All Progressives Congress requesting an expansion of the panel for the review of the judgment of the apex court which sacked its candidate in the Bayelsa State governorship election, David Lyon.
This is a preliminary victory for the Peoples Democratic Party, whose candidate, Duoye Diri, was the beneficiary from the Supreme Court ruling.
The APC had on Thursday approached the Supreme Court with a fresh application asking the apex court to reverse its judgment that voided the victory of its candidate in the last governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The APC also sought for enlargement of the panel which earlier adjudicated on the matter, but the apex court struck out the matter, preparatory for the main review of the case this week.
The APC had asked the court to reverse its judgment disqualifying Lyon.
The party’s application was filed on Thursday by its team of lawyers led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN).
The APC also wants the Supreme Court to set aside the wrong interpretation in its judgment of February 13 and its subsequent execution by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
It is also contending that the apex Court misinterpreted the November 12, 2019 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which it affirmed.
The party argued that the Supreme Court acted without jurisdiction and denied it fair hearing when it proceeded to disqualify its governorship candidate.
The APC also faulted the interpretation given to the Supreme Court judgment by INEC in deciding to issue a certificate of return to the candidates of the PDP.
It stated: “After reinstating the judgment of the trial court, this honourable court proceeded to disqualify the governorship candidate of the appellant (Lyon David Pereworimin) despite the fact that the trial court refused to grant the reliefs for his disqualification and there was no appeal against same.
“In this honourable court’s judgment of February 13, the court erroneously and inadvertently stated that the trial court consequentially disqualified the applicant‘s governorship candidate even though the trial court made no such order.
“Rather, the trial court indeed refused to grant the express orders sought by the plaintiffs therein for his disqualification.”
The APC wants the Supreme Court to set aside portions of its judgment where it held that the Federal High Court, in disqualifying its Deputy Governorship candidate, proceeded to disqualify its governorship candidate.
It said: “And where it held that joint ticket of its candidates was vitiated by the disqualification of the Deputy Governorship candidate and that both candidates are deemed not to be candidates in the election.”
It further prayed the Supreme Court to set aside the portion of the judgment where it ordered INEC to declare as winner of the governorship election candidates with the highest number of lawful votes.
It further requested: “Also where it ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to its governorship candidate and the issuance of fresh one to the candidate who had the highest number of lawful votes.”
The APC argued that it was wrong for the Supreme Court to have voided its candidates’ participation in the election when the judgment by the Federal High Court, disqualifying its deputy governorship candidate, was stayed as at when the election was conducted.