Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, appears to have known that the Commission will play into the hands of the All Progressive Congress, APC ,if if it dares issue Certificate of Return To Douye Diri and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, both Senators, governorship and deputy governorship Candidates of the Peoples’s Democratic party, PDP, in the November 16, 2019, Bayelsa election.
Note that the issuance of the Certificate of Return to the duo by the Commission qualifies them to be sworn in on Friday, February 14, 2020. The significant thing about the Friday date slated for the swearing in of the governor elect and deputy elect of the state was that” it was the Saint Valentine day”, celebrated , all over the world.
Going by the November 16, 2019, governorship election result released in the state, the PDP, Candidate did not score 25 percent in two-thirds of the eight local government Areas of the state which was a big blow to the party. The failure of the party to win the election at the first instance may not be unconnected to the fact that former President Goodluck Jonathan had refused to throw his weight behind the PDP Candidates . His anger was that Diri was imposed on the party by Seriake Dickson, the former state governor, without Consulting the elders including himself as the father of the party in the state.
Adams Oshiomhole, a Labour activist and former governor of Edo state and now national Chairman of the APC, was said to have prepared the mind of the party Legal Team to be ready for the legal battle with INEC and PDP, over the Bayelsa state governorship election which was won by David Lyon , the party Candidate but denied by the Supreme Court last Thursday.
The INEC Legal Team were not also sitting idle as they were said to have advised Yakubu, the INEC boss, to convene an emergency meeting where the Bayelsa issue was aid to have been discussed. The essense of the meeting was ostensibly to block all the legal loopholes that be used by Oshiomhole and the APC, to forestall the swearing in of the PDP governor and deputy governor elect of the state last Friday. They got it right.
It was not surprising why he convened the emergency meeting where the Bayelsa state governorship election contested by 45 political parties were seriously discussed an final decision was said to have bbeen taken. The INEC top officials were said to have agreed to prepare a fresh Bayelsa state governorship result sheet that would exclude the APC, Candidate votes. They may have beaten APC in their own game by reviewing the Bayelsa governorship election result of November 16, 2019 and excluding the party from the fresh result sheet prepared which makes it difficult for the party to drag the Commission, . This may ave informed why political Observers believe that INEC, has beaten APC, gladiators in their own game.
Note that the the Bayelsa election was based on the votes scored by 44 parties Candidate in the governorship election alone as that of the President Muhammadu’s party, the APC, was cancelled .
The Value News learnt that there was pressure on the Katsina state born Nigerian President by the party gladiators to use his position to intervene to avoid the party losing the oil rich state to the PDP but that was how far they could go.
The APC gladiators had expected the President to cancel the Bayelsa election and subsequently give INEC, a matching order to organise a fresh election in the state within 90 days. The Bayelsa state fresh governorship result sheet , was said to have been prepared , three months after the November 16, 2019 election.
Political watchers believe that the fresh Bayelsa state governorship result sheet was a big blow to the APC gladiators as there was nothing to show that the APC, described as one of the largest party in the country , contested the governorship election.
An eleated Yakubu, the INEC, Chairman, had released the fresh Bayelsa state governorship election result ssheet to Journalists who had laid ambush at the Commission Headquarters to know the outcome of the top level meeting. The question on the lips of most people was: How did the Commission prepare the fresh result sheet in less than 24 hours? There are indications that the Commission may have prepared the Bayelsa governorship election result sheet in advance when t became obvious that APC, will lose the state on legal technicalities at teh Supreme Court.
Addressing a well crowded Press Conference including foreign Journalists, at the Abuja office, amidst tight security, the INEC Chairman disclosed that they were forced to go back to the drawing board to avoid creating a Constitutional crisis in Bayelsa state after the Supreme Court had sacked Lyon, the APC, governor elect on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
He noted that that without the votes scored by the APC Candidate , the total number of lawful and valid votes that was cast in the November 16, 2019, election in the state was 146,999.According to him, out of the lawful votes cast during the election, which had been reviewed , Diri, the PDP Candidate , scored 143.172 to be sworn in as the governor of the state. The Candidate of the Accord party was said to have come second in the fresh Bayelsa state reviewed result with1,339 votes.
The Commission may have taken the bold initiative to ensure that Senator Diri, the PDP , Candidate, scored the required 25 percent in two thirds of the eight local government Areas of the state in order to qualify to be sworn in as the governor of the state.
Note that the Commission had declared the Bayelsa election’’. conclusive at first ballot’ , as it had declared Diri and Ewhrudjakpo of the PDP as governor and deputy governor of Bayelsa state restively. They were subsequently issued Certificate of Return and sworn in by the Chief Judge of the state on Friday, February 14, 2020.
An angry Oshiomhole has enjoined PDP, members to stop celebrating the sacking of Lyon, the party Candidate by the Supreme Court , insisting that the party will still go to Court to reclaim its stolen mandate from the PDP.His worry was that INEC, has assumed the power of the Judiciary to itself by declaring Diri, the PDP, Candidate as the duly elected governor of Bayelsa state.
His comments in the recent time, appear to have whipped up sentiments in the volatile oil rich state as angry Youths started protesting against the Supreme Court sacking of the theAPC, governor elect of the state
they were said to have attacked Dickson, the former governor’s personal house in Yenagoa, the state Capital. They were said to have also attacked the PDP secretariat , destroying valuable properties worth millions of naira as security operatives watch effortlessly. The crisis situation in the state has become so worrisome that Uche Anozia , the state Commissioner of Police was forced to announce a 3-day dusk- to- dawn curfew in order to bring the situation under control.
This is where Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, may have to step in by giving a matching order to Anozia, the Bayelsa Commissioner of Police, to beef up security at Dickson, the immidate past governor’s house both in hisown village and Yenagoa, including the PDP secretariat which had become major target of attacks of the party thugs. There are fears in both official and unofficial circles that the crisis might still erupt as the vocal few opposed to Diri, the state governor , are still determined to make governance of the state very difficult for him.
There are suggestions that for peace to reign in the state he should not see his election as winner takes all as he has to reach out to Jonathan, the former President at his Otuoke home and make peace with him as the father of PDP in the state.
Political analysts had warned that he should allow his close relationship with Dickson, the former governor who may have seen himself as a giant killer , to give appointments only to people that supported him during the election but should endeavour to carry everybody along in the governance of the state in order to have a peaceful tenure.
He may have read the handwriting on the wall that he has to work with all the parties including the Opposition APCThis my have informed why he extended a hand of fellowship to Lyon, the APC, sacked governor elect and Temipreme Sylva, a former governor of the state and now minister of state Petroleum Resources to join hands with him in the development of the state.But whether Lyon or Sylva will need the call remain to be seen.