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Hard Work is the Reason for My Cold, Says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday has said that he is suffering from cold.

He, however, attributed his ailment to his hard work as the President of the country.

Buhari disclosed this while presenting the 2020 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Immediately after observing protocols and before presenting the details of the bill, the President apologised for his voice.

He said, “Before I proceed to read the details of the budget, let me apologise for my voice.

“As you can hear in my voice, I have cold because I am working hard.”

The comment attracted loud laughter and applause from all those inside the chamber, including the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, federal lawmakers, state governors, members of the Federal Executive Council and leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, among others.

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APC Lambasts INEC for Declaring Diri Bayelsa Gov’ship Election Winner

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) has berated the electoral umpire, INEC, for its decision to declare the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Douye Diri, as governor of Bayelsa State.

Abiding by a Supreme Court directive, INEC on Friday declared Mr Diri governor-elect after it nullified the votes cast for the APC candidate, David Lyon, in the November 16 election in the state.

Mr Lyon was sacked on Thursday by the apex court on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented a false certificate to the electoral body, INEC, in the build-up to the election.

In a press briefing on Friday at the party secretariat in Abuja, the APC chairman faulted INEC for issuing a certificate of return to Mr Diri.

“INEC expressly disobeyed the Supreme Court order which insisted on (votes) spread.

“Democracy is a game of numbers, it would not have been the intention of the Supreme Court that the man who did not have the spread be sworn-in as a governor. That is why the Supreme Court made that provision.

“We will employ every peaceful legal means to upturn this illegal decision of INEC,” Mr Oshiomhole said, suggesting the party could approach the Supreme Court again.

The party chairman also cautioned PDP and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers against celebrating their victory through Supreme Court as “the PDP has crossed one river and they still have many rivers to cross.”

In his argument, Mr Oshiomhole said the certificates presented by
Mr Degi-Eremienyo to INEC when he contested for the Senate was the same he presented as a deputy governorship candidate.

“The qualifications for being a governor is the same qualification of being a senator. It is the same documents that they used for his election as a senator that he provided to INEC. There is no evidence that he subtracted or added.

“So, if he was eligible to be a senator in the eyes of the law and suddenly become illegible to be a deputy governor,” he said.

Mr Oshiomhole also claimed in his address that the just concluded governorship election in Bayelsa State was won by APC for the first time without ‘firing a single shot.’

However, PREMIUM TIMES and other election observers witnessed several cases of violence and manipulations during the election.

Following the Supreme Court’s Thursday judgement, Mr Oshiomhole said that nobody should be sworn-in as the governor of Bayelsa on Friday. Among the criticisms that trailed the APC chairman’s reaction was from the Rivers governor, Nyesom Wike.

“The federal government should warn Oshiomhole to stop making remarks that will destabilise Nigeria.

“What he is doing in Edo State is not proper and he should not bring it to the rest of the Niger Delta,” Mr Wike warned Oshiomhole.

“Between me and my very dear friend (Nyesom Wike), who has the history of electoral violence?” The APC national chairman said in reaction on Friday.

“I have ran as a governor twice and to my credit I launched one man one vote. I fought the PDP godfather and I defeated them, without firing a gunshot. We emphasized the power of the ballot, peaceful ballot.

“Do you know how many lives were wasted, do you read your newspaper? Police officers were beheaded, where? Soldiers were beheaded, where? Rivers! Who was declared winner of such election violence, was it not Wike?

“When a tortoise continues to challenge the antelope for a race, know that something is wrong.

“He wants to use me to regain his dubious membership of the PDP,” he alleged.

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David Lyon: The Governor that Never Was

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By Eric Elezuo

“If you have tears, prepare to shed them now…”

The above expression by Mark Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar came to mind as the Supreme Court declared its landmark judgment which threw the entire nation into a frenzy and shock, depending on your side of the divide. It ruled that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), My David Lyon, who was elected governor of Bayelsa State in November 2019 will no longer be governor. This was barely 24 hours to his inauguration, and even as the former governor-elect was rehearsing for the ill-fated inauguration.

A five-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Odili nullified the election of Mr Lyon on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the governorship election in the state held on November 16, 2019.

In the judgment, delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, the final arbiter ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo and immediately declare the party with the highest number of lawful votes and geographical spread the winner of the election. The decision did not just draw tears; it drew pains, heartbreak and blood. The Supreme Court judgment came exactly one month after it sacked the former Imo State governor, Emeka Ihedioha, who had been in office for eight months, replacing him with APC’s Hope Uzodinma, who came a distant fourth in the March 9, 2010 governorship election in Imo State.

With the judgment, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Diri Duoye, was declared winner and inaugurated as governor of Bayelsa State the following amid pockets of protests and subsequent three-day curfew.

The PDP and its governorship candidate, Mr Diri, had filed a suit against Messrs Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo, and INEC, seeking the disqualification of the APC deputy governorship candidate.

They had claimed that Mr Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in his CF 0001 form submitted to INEC.

It is more painful that Lyon was sacked just two days after he survived a court process against a member of his party, Heineken Lokpobiri, who approached the apex court, asking it to declare him the winner of the APC governorship primary held in the state. He claimed that the party wrongly gave the ticket to Mr Lyon who eventually contested and won the governorship election.

But in its judgment read by Justice Iyang Okoro, the Supreme Court said, “The sole issue is resolved against the appellant. Accordingly, the appeal lacks merit and is hereby dismissed.”

But that was not to be when PDP approached the court. Recall that prior to the election on November 12, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had disqualified the APC governor-elect on the grounds that his deputy provided false information to INEC.

Mr Ekwo held that there was no connection between the name on the candidate’s school-leaving certificate, first degree (BA), master’s degree and the affidavits he swore.

However, the Court of Appeal, in its wisdom, set aside the decision of the trial court and affirmed the election of the APC candidates. The three-member panel of the appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah said that the PDP did not prove their case against the APC candidates. The court held that Mr Degi-Eremienyo submitted an affidavit which showed evidence of his change of name from Adeyi-Eremienyo to Degi-Eremienyo.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, Diri and his party filed an appeal at the apex court, and the outcome, like they say, is history, leaving in its wake ‘sorrow, tears and blood’.
Today, David Lyon, who was governor-elect, and had only a couple of hours to become full fledged governor, is addressed simply as former governorship candidate of the APC. From records, as at Friday, February 14, 2020 when INEC rose from its emergency meeting, and a certificate of return presented to Diri, Lyon’s ceased to exist in electoral body’s registered, and is deemed not to have contested the election, not to talk of winning it.
Lyon, born to Mr and Mrs Arukubu Lyon Ekpeke of Abebiri family of Eubiri compound, Olugbobiri community in Olodiama clan, Southern Ijaw LGA, Bayelsa State, on December 20, 1970, can only look back and cherish the days he was erroneously declared and called governor-elect and endowed with appurtenances of state glory; the days he had to visit President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock, and addressed as Buhari’s newest baby boy by party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
In 1978, Lyon became equipping himself for the task ahead when he attended Saint Gabriel’s State School Olugbobiri where he finished from in 1983 before proceeding to Community Secondary school, Olugbobiri, from 1984 to 1988. He obtained his National Certificate of Education (NCE) in Mathematics and Chemistry at the Rivers State College of Education.

Lyon started his career as a foreman in Western Geophysical Company Limited, before moving on to become the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Darlon Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited, Darlon Group Nigeria Limited and Arutex and Sons Nigeria Limited.

Lyon joined politics in the Third Republic, as a member of the defunct, National Republican Congress (NRC). He contested and won a councilorship election at Ward 4 in Southern Ijaw, but the military incursion aborted his tenure in 1997. He went on to become a founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Southern Ijaw. He was later appointed as the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Apoi Olodiama Local Government Development Center in 2000.

In 2015, he decamped to the All Progressives Congress and contested the Bayelsa State governorship primary election in September 2019, where he emerged as the party’s candidate.

The story of David Lyon will have a special place in history books as the almost governor or the governor that never was. He will have his chance again in 2023, maybe.

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Tension As Police Impose curfew on Bayelsa Amid Inauguration

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The Bayelsa State Police Command on Friday imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the state following an outbreak of protests and violence in different parts of the state.

The state Commissioner of Police, Uche Anozia, announced the curfew at a press conference in Yenagoa, the state capital, shortly before the swearing-in of Senator Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party as the governor of the state and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo as his deputy, by the state Chief Judge, Justice Kate Abiri, at the Government House.

There had been severe tension in the state since the Supreme Court on Thursday annulled the victory of the APC candidate in the November 16, 2019 governorship election, Mr David Lyon, and his running mate, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.

While Lyon was already rehearsing for the inauguration scheduled for Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that the APC ought not to have participated in the election because Degi-Eremienyo, his running mate in the election, forged his certificates.

A five-man panel of the apex court, headed by Justice Mary Peter-Odili, ordered that INEC should withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Lyon and his running mate and declare as winner of the election the candidate with the highest number of lawful votes cast with the requisite constitutional spread.

Sequel to the court order in the lead judgement delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko, the commission on Friday declared Diri as the winner of the election.

INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, while addressing a news conference at its headquarters, said by virtue of the Supreme Court judgement, the total number of votes cast in the election was 146,999, out of which the candidate of the PDP scored 143,172 with geographical spread.

But as early as Thursday evening, shortly after the ruling of the apex court, there were protests against the judgment in some parts of the state, including Yenogoa, and it continued until Friday morning.

The protesters, who were believed to be supporters of the APC, took to the streets setting bonfires on major roads in the state.

The angry APC supporters, comprising women and youths, blocked different areas of the Mbiama-Yenagoa Road, burning tyres and traffic control stands in sight.

They said the verdict of the apex court was unacceptable, insisting that it was either Lyon or no other person. The National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, had also posited that no one would be sworn in on Friday, arguing that no other candidate had the constitutional spread to be governor.

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