INEC excludes PDP's Dickson from Bayelsa Guber list

2012-01-13
VANGUARD Newspaper


LAGOS— Chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP were yesterday in anxiety after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC left out the party’s approved candidate in the official list of candidates for the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State.

While Governor Timipire Sylva welcomed the development as a victory for his agitation to be placed in the candidates’ list, the PDP approved candidate, Serikae Dickson called on his supporters not to be deterred, urging them to focus on the ongoing campaigns.

Thirty-five candidates were listed in the candidates’ list pasted by the commission as nominations by the political parties. In the space provided for the PDP, the INEC list stated – “SUBJECT TO LITIGATION”.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman of the PDP in Bayelsa State, Deacon James Dugo at a press conference, yesterday, said the party was shocked by the INEC action, adding that it was illogical for INEC to have taken such a step after it, (INEC) had received its nominees, Dickson and his running mate, Rear Admiral John Gboribiogha Jonah (rtd.) as the PDP’s approved candidates.

Sylva who was refused permission to participate in the gubernatorial primaries that produced Dickson in welcoming the decision said yesterday: “INEC has taken the right decision as an impartial umpire by acknowledging and stating clearly that the subject of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the governorship election is validly before a court of law, and that as an institution that respects the rule of law and democracy, it would not do anything to prejudice the final outcome of the matter in court.”

The Governor in a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Doifie Ola urged his supporters to cheer up, saying that light was at the end of the tunnel.

Urging his supporters not to be distracted, Dickson in a statement issued by the director of publicity of his campaign, Mr Boyelayefa Debekeme, Dickson said:

“Members of our great party should rather concentrate on campaign strategies to actualise our restoration agenda to restore the glory of Bayelsa and engender socio-economic turnaround by winning the forthcoming 2012 governorship poll.

“We wish to inform our members, teeming supporters and Bayelsans generally that there is no cause for alarm, as our candidates’ names had already been submitted and accepted by INEC before the deadline,” the statement added.

Also speaking on the development, the Chairman of the PDP in Bayelsa State, Dugo said:

“We are completely taken aback by this development and to say the least, we are shocked, embarrassed and disappointed that INEC would take such a drastic and monumental decision without recourse to us as a party, having formally received and accepted the names of our candidate and his running mate following the successful conduct of our party primaries on November 19, 2011.

“Our party has formally written to INEC over this matter and we expect a speedy and prompt response from INEC in this regard. Be that as it may, we wish to strongly express our reservation over the exclusion of our candidate from the lists of candidates released by INEC to contest the February 11, 2012 governorship election in Bayelsa State.

“We refuse to believe that some persons in INEC are colluding with officials of the Bayelsa State Government to carry out this sinister act. It is totally condemnable and such an action should be probed and investigated so that those found culpable will be brought to book immediately. Towards this end, we hereby call on the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Prof Atahiru Jega, to speedily wade into this matter and immediately address these obvious lapses.

“We find it most ridiculous and preposterous for anyone to say that because the issue of PDP candidacy is still a subject of litigation therefore, INEC is not obliged to publish the name of our candidate pending the decision of the suit in question. We wish to draw the attention of those holding such a view to the Court of Appeal ruling of Saturday, January 7, 2012 presided by Justice Zainab Buckachuwa. The ruling of the Court of Appeal on the matter is very clear. According to Justice Buckachuwa in her ruling, she said PDP did not violate any court order when it conducted the November 19, 2011 primaries because in the first place no such order was given.

“The Court of Appeal ruling also clearly held that Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court over reached himself by making pronouncements that were prejudicial to the PDP when he threatened to nullify the November 19, 2011 primaries conducted by PDP which produced Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson as flag bearer of the PDP in Bayelsa State.

The court further held that the unfortunate pronouncement of Justice Kolawole amounted to a determination of the substantive suit without hearing from the appellant (PDP) and as such, he (Justice Kolawole) disqualified himself from hearing the substantive suit. The court therefore referred the case back to the Federal High Court where the case will now be heard by another Judge.”

Governor Sylva had taken his case to the Federal High Court which asked the PDP to show cause why the Governor should be barred from the primaries. Following an appeal by the PDP the Court of Appeal returned the case to the lower court for determination upon which both the Governor and the PDP appealed to the Supreme Court.

Governor Sylva is asserting that he should be recognized as the authentic candidate of the party having been first forwarded to INEC as the PDP candidate in January, 2011 before the election was deferred.

 

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