Fear and apprehension have gripped the people of Bayelsa as the State Governorship Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has set Saturday, August 15, 2020, to deliver judgment.
By Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
…I am not afraid, says Ehwrudjakpo
The day is set for judgment in the case between Vijah Opuama vs Independent National Electoral Commission, People’s Democratic Party, Senator Douye Diri and Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
The petitioner, Vijah Opuama, of the Liberation Movement had filed his petition on February 21, 2020 challenging the declaration of His Excellency, Douye Diri and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo as governor and deputy governor respectively in Bayelsa State.
Opuamah’s case commenced like a joke immediately the Supreme Court declared Diri the winner of the November 16, 2019 governorship election following the disqualification of the Governor-elect, David Lyon.
The case, packaged by three young lawyers, Ebikebuna Aluzu, Pius Danba and Ebi Robert, was dismissed initially by most PDP leaders as dead on arrival, until careful scrutiny of the processes filed by the lawyers indicated otherwise.
Opuama is seeking the disqualification of Ewhrudjakpo on the grounds of irregularities in his academic qualifications and the cancellation of the governorship election.
He also prayed the court to order a fresh election in Bayelsa, alleging that the poll conducted by the INEC failed to comply with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Upon the close of pleadings and adoption of addresses by all the parties concerned, the tribunal had adjourned for judgment on a date to be communicated to all the parties.
But since the judgment day was made public, anxiety seems to have pervaded the state, particularly the PDP family of what the likely outcome would be.
It was learnt that the government was not leaving anything to chance considering what happened to David Lyon 24 hours to his inauguration.
A politician and indigene of the state, Christopher Abarowei, said the matter had an equal chance to the petitioner and the respondent.
He said his major concern was that litigants should allow governance progress in the state instead of unnecessary litigations that were stifling infrastructure development.
He said because of litigations, Governor Diri had not actually hit the ground running as he had been busy attending to one court case or another.
Reacting to the coming judgment, the state’s deputy governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said there was nothing to be afraid of concerning the judgment.
The deputy governor, who spoke through his media aide, Doubara Atasi, said he believed that judiciary would do the right thing.
He stated: “My principal (Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo) remains unruffled. There is nothing to be afraid of concerning the judgment.
“I believe that the judiciary will do the right thing and as far as the right thing is done, there is nothing to be afraid of.”