Bayelsa deputy governor asks appeal court to dismiss certificate forgery suit against him

Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has dismissed reports making the rounds that the immediate past administration spent about N100bn for the construction of the state Airport.

Bayelsa State Deputy Gov­ernor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on Friday asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to dismiss a suit wherein it was alleged that he forged his school certifi­cate.

The allegation was lev­elled against him by the gov­ernorship candidate of the Accord Party, Mr Ebizimo Diriyai.

Diriyai is challenging the August judgment of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that dismissed his petition against the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Responding to the appeal on Friday, the deputy gover­nor informed the five man panel of Justices of the ap­pellate court that the case of the Accord Party was statute barred having not been filed within 14 days required by section 285 of the 1999 Con­stitution as amended.

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Ewhrudjakpo, through his lead counsel, Chief Chuk­wuma Machukwu-Umeh, SAN, informed the court that what the appellant took to the state election petition tribunal was a pre-election matter but erroneously dressed it as a post-election matter.

The senior lawyer said that in compliance with rel­evant laws, the Independent National Electoral Com­mission (INEC), published names of Bayelsa State gov­ernorship candidates and their running mates 60 days before the election for claims and objections from the gen­eral public.

Machukwu-Umeh stated that in breach of the law, the Accord Party governorship candidate did not file any claim or objection within 14 days allowed by law but only woke up in February, four months after the election had been conducted and the winner made public.

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Arguing further, Machuk­wu-Umeh stated that being a pre-election matter, the ap­pellant ought to have filed his case at a Federal High Court; High Court of the Fed­eral Capital Territory (FCT) or High Court of a State.

Similarly, INEC, Gov­ernor Douye Diri and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who are the other re­spondents in the suit urged the appellate court to dis­miss the appeal for being incompetent and a waste of the court’s time.

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