By Nathaniel Gana
14th February 2020.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) today declared Senators Douye Diri and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo winners of the 16th November 2019 Bayelsa Governorship election, in compliance with the Supreme Court judgment delivered on 13th February 2020.
At a media briefing held at the Commission’s headquarters, Abuja on 14th February, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said the Commission received the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment of the apex court in a pre-election suit, which disqualified and vitiated the joint ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) earlier declared winner in the election. He said the court also ordered INEC to “declare as winner of the Governorship election in Bayelsa State, the candidate with the highest number of lawful votes cast with the requisite constitutional spread.”
The Supreme Court judgment compelled the Commission to convene an emergency meeting on 14th February where the result of the election in which 45 political parties contested was reviewed. Prof. Yakubu explained that without the votes scored by the APC, whose candidates were deemed not to have participated in the election, the total number of lawful and valid votes cast in the election stood at 146, 999.
He further explained: “Out of this figure, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored the highest number of lawful votes with 143,172. Similarly, the Party has scored more than 25 percent of the lawful votes cast in all the eight (8) Local Government Areas of the State. Furthermore, the total number of registered voters in places where election was not held or cancelled as a result of sundry violations is 90,822. The candidate of the Accord party has the next highest score with 1,339 votes. The margin of lead between the candidates of the PDP and the Accord party is 141,833 votes. With this outcome, the election is conclusive at first ballot.”
He added: “Consequently, Senator Douye Diri and Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of the PDP are hereby declared winners and returned elected as Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State respectively.”
Shortly after the briefing, National Commissioner supervising Bayelsa State, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu presented the two winners with their Certificates of Return.