Party Primary: Supreme Court dismisses Heineken’s appeal against governor elect in Bayelsa

Nigeria’s apex court, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal filed by Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, a former Minister of State for Agriculture, against Mr David Lyon and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The appeal also listed as co-defendant, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Lokpobiri had instituted the case against Lyon and APC alleging that he won the Bayelsa Sept. 4, 2019 governorship primary election of the party.

Justice John Okoro, while reading the judgment of the five-man panel led by Justice Mary Odili, stated that pre-election matters, being time barred, must be filed within 14 days.

The apex court held that Lokpobiri filed the case at the trial court outside the 14 days provided by the Constitution.

“Going by Section 285(9) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: `The provision of Section 285(9) of the Constitution does not permit any elongation of time in any pre election matter.

“Contrary to Lokpobiri’s calculation that the cause of action started on Sept. 7, Okoro stated that it actually arose on Sept. 4.

An appeal court in Port Harcourt  had struck out the appeal, describing it as statute barred.

The Appeal Court also overturned the judgement of the lower court.

The Federal High Court, Yenagoa had held that APC candidates were products of flawed primaries on Sept. 4, 2019.

On Nov. 14, 2019, two days to the election, Jane Inyang, judge of the Federal High Court had nullified the primary election which produced Lyon as governorship candidate.

However, the APC obtained an interim order from the court of appeal staying the order of the lower court which barred them it participating in the Nov. 16 governorship poll.

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