All Progressive CongressBy Emmanuel Aziken
David Lyon would have today been one day in office as governor of Bayelsa State, but for the twist of fate that played on him two days ago.
Mr. Lyon was on Thursday rehearsing for the inauguration to have been done yesterday when the Supreme Court annulled his candidacy in the November 16 election.
The apex court acted upon the allegations of forgery brought against his running mate in the election, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.
The running mate, who was born on January 1, 1960, had been known as Degi Biobaragha up till 1976, and after that up till 1984, when he became known as Adegi Biobakumo.
By 1990, he was now known as Degi Biobarakuma, and again, 12 years later, in 2002, he took up another identity as Degi Biobarakuma Wangagha.
The different identities, according to news reports, were reflected in different examination certificates bringing into doubt the consistency of the person.
The judgment of the Supreme Court brought to anti-climax, the euphoria within the camp of the All Progressives Congress, APC, that greeted the declaration of Mr. Lyon as governor-elect of Bayelsa State after the November election. That election pitiably was marked with an unprecedented loss of lives with at least 22 deaths.
One twitter user said that Lyon should drive his running mate to Maiduguri and abandon him by the gate of the city for Boko Haram to deliver retribution.
As at press time, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was yet to give direction on how it would interpret the judgment of the Supreme Court.
Whatever, the APC is left out in the cold!
Willy-nilly, the judgment again, brings to fore the inconsistency and defects of the electoral system and its major operators.
INEC, did not rule or raise observations against the inconsistencies in the certificates submitted by the APC running mate, perhaps because it did not have the powers to disqualify or raise issues with submissions made by candidates.
However, the consistency of the same commission was brought into question when it sought to block Ms. Natisha Akpoti, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP from participating in the Kogi State governorship election that was conducted about the same time because of the age of her original running mate, Bashiru Yakubu.
However, more blame will be directed at the APC for bringing this woe upon itself.
In Kogi State, the SDP and Ms. Akpoti, once they got to know that Yakubu was unqualified on account of age for the position, moved to substitute him.
However, in Bayelsa State, the APC chose to trudge the path of arrogance by insisting on Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo. The party perhaps believed that it would roar and devour the opposition with Lyon at the head of the ticket.
As the Supreme Court ruled, Degi-Eremieoyo’s presence on the ticket was a toxic infection on the validity of the APC ticket. Even more, careful observers would have also concluded that the emergence of the ticket raised a crisis in the party following the allegation that a valid primary was not conducted.
Lyon and his running mate were the choices of the party’s political leader in the state, Timipire Sylva.
Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who chose not to return to the Muhammadu Buhari cabinet and rather to contest the governorship election, protested the decision of the party elders up to the Supreme Court.
Lokpobiri’s petition was last Wednesday rejected by the apex court, which validated the party’s position on Lyon. After the decision, some party leaders congratulated Lyon and the Adams Oshiomhole leadership on the Supreme Court victory. But it turned to be a pyrrhic victory.
If by a twist of fate that Lokpobiri had won the case last Wednesday, Comrade Oshiomhole would have today been in Yenagoa for what would have been the inauguration of an APC government with Lokpobiri as governor.
However, the APC chose to walk the path of arrogance as it did in Zamfara by taking the laws into its hands in the face of reality.
The judgment is a clear rebuke against the indiscretion of political parties who choose the personal preference of a political leader over established conventions and regulations.
Personally, it is a big blow for Mr. Sylva, who was about recapturing the state that he governed for five years on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
On the other hand, it is a miraculous revival for the former governor of the state, Mr. Seriake Dickson. Dickson was set for political oblivion after jettisoning counsel from high and low quarters to project his personal preference in the person of Douyle Diri as the candidate of the PDP.
Following the judgment on Thursday, many political associates who had abandoned him to infamy were coming back to Dickson, proving the everlasting saying that defeat is an orphan.