Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, have again extended a hand of fellowship to the opposition and all those that filed petitions in court against their election.
Diri and Ewhrudjakpo stated this while reacting in separate statements to Wednesday’s ruling of the Supreme Court which dismissed the six appeals filed against them by Alliance for Democracy, Liberation Movement, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party and Accord Party.
It was the fifth time the governor and his deputy have won at the Supreme Court.
Diri, in the statement titled, ‘Supreme Court ruling on Bayelsa election: Litigants not my enemies,’ by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, said the litigants were neither his enemies nor enemies of Bayelsa.
The governor said, “I have over the period leading to the Supreme Court ruling said as a state we do not need all of this distraction. We are one and the brotherhood should be paramount.
“After elections, particularly when a government has taken the oath of office, we expect everybody to support and bring their ideas on board for Bayelsa to grow and become prosperous. That is why we tagged our government the Prosperity Administration.
“So, today marks the end of all the litigation. If anybody wants to further appeal, maybe he can appeal to the court of the devil. But, constitutionally, I believe this is the end of all the litigation.
“Once again, I call on my brothers that had gone on this appeal to join hands with the government of the day. And what should be uppermost on our mind should be the interest of Bayelsa and not individual and personal interest.”
Ewhrudjakpo on his part declared that there was ‘No Victor, No Vanquished’ and expressed gratitude to God for granting the Diri administration victory over the myriad of allegations concerning the 2019 governorship election.
The Supreme Court had on Wednesday dismissed six separate appeals challenging the election of Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri.
The governor who is of the Peoples Democratic Party, was declared winner of the November 16, 2019 governorship election, following a February 13, 2020 verdict of the apex court which annulled the victory of the All Progressives Congress candidate, David Lyon, who was initially declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
A seven-man panel of the court dismissed six appeals challenging Diri’s victory after the appellants’ lawyers applied to withdraw them.
The appellants’ lawyers opted to withdraw the appeals after the apex court panel drew their attention to the futility of their legal challenge before going into a formal hearing.
In a unanimous verdict, with the lead decision delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the court subsequently dismissed the appeals.
The appellants were the Alliance for Democracy, Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party, and Labour Movement, Accord Party, all of who had earlier lost at the Court of Appeal.
Although the ANDP had on August 17, 2020, obtained a judgment from the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sacking Diri from office on the grounds that the party was unlawfully excluded from the last year’s poll, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal in an October 2, 2020, judgment, upturned the tribunal’s decision and affirmed the governor’s election.
Meanwhile, the PDP, the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, in separate statements on Wednesday hailed the Supreme
Court verdict affirming the victory of Diri and Ewhrudjakpo.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, “This victory is a victory not only for the PDP and Bayelsa State, it is a victory for all those who believe in genuine democracy.”
Speaking in a similar vein, governor Obaseki, described the judgement as “a victory for democracy.”
Former governor Dickson said, “The Supreme Court and the respected justices have proved beyond doubt that the apex court remains the reliable hallowed temple of justice and a pillar of our democracy.”