The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal filed by a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Bayelsa State, Timi Alaibe, against governor Douye Diri.
He had filed the appeal at the apex court to challenge the emergence of Mr Diri as PDP’s candidate in the last year’s election.
Mr Alaibe, who was a governorship aspirant of the PDP in the 2019 election, had instituted a suit against the party, Mr Diri and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Federal High Court in Owerri.
He had sought cancellation of the result of the primary election on grounds of procedural flaws.
On March 10, Justice Tijjani Ringim of the Federal High Court in Owerri dismissed Mr Alaibe’s suit for lacking in merit.
The Port Harcourt Division of the Court of Appeal on May 12, also dismissed Mr Alaibe’s appeal and upheld the judgment of the trial court.
Dissatisfied with the appellate court’s judgement, Mr Alaibe approached the Supreme Court.
But at the resumed hearing of the matter on Tuesday, a five-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, informed the appellant’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe, that his case cannot be categorised as a pre-election matter but “a domestic affair of the party which the court lacked jurisdiction to hear.”
The appeal was also described as statute-barred.
Following this, Mr Adedipe decided to withdraw the appeal and consequently, the apex court dismissed it.
Mr Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrujakporboth, had taken the oath of office in Yenagoa, after he (Mr Diri) was on Febrary 13, declared winner of the November 16 governorship election.
This followed the annulment of the victory of the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), David Lyon, by the Supreme Court.
A five-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Odili sacked Mr Lyon on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to INEC.
The apex court in the judgment delivered by Ejembi Eko consequently ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Messrs Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo.
The judge also ordered that INEC should immediately declare the party with the highest number of lawful votes and geographical spread.
The INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on February 14, formally declared Mr Diri winner of the polls. He said the decision was in compliance with the apex court’s decision.
Subsequently, the INEC commissioner for the South-south, May Agbamuche, presented the certificate of return to Mr Diri and his deputy.