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Court reverses Bayelsa deputy governor-elect disqualification

An Appeal Court in Abuja has reversed the judgment of a Federal High Court on the disqualification of the Deputy-Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo from participating in the Bayelsa State governorship election on November 16.

Senator Degi-Eremienyo who is now the deputy governor-elect had challenged the High Court judgement that restrained him from taking part in the recently concluded poll.

Justice Iyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on November 12 disqualified the lawmaker for allegedly given false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of requirement for the governorship poll.

In a ruling, Justice Ekwo said Senator Degi-Eremienyo presented false information concerning his educational qualifications.

A three-man panel chaired by Justice Stephen Adah on Monday ruled that the High Court erred in law and in breach of the appellant’s right to a fair hearing.

Justice Stephen Adah said, the case which was brought under Section 36 of the Electoral Act and the respondents in the case ought to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Senator Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in his form C001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of his qualifications to contest the election.

“I agree with the appellant that the owner of the school leaving certificate and the GCE certificate are one and the same and I therefore set aside the judgment of the court below,” Justice Adah stated.

The court noted that Sen Degi-Eremienyo submitted an affidavit to prove that the names Adeyi-Eremienyo on his school-leaving certificate are the same as Degi-Eremienyo on his GCE certificate and newspaper cuttings announcing a change of name.

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