Bayelsa Assembly’s Refusal To Swear-In ADC Candidate Stirs Anger | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Bayelsa Assembly’s Refusal To Swear-In ADC Candidate Stirs Anger

Posted: Feb 16, 2016 at 5:28 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Igoniko Oduma,Yenagoa

An appeal filed by a female lawmaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Naomi Ogoli, at the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to challenge the court’s nullification of her election is generating anger in the state.

The appellate court had on 9 December 2015 in a judgment on an appeal brought before it by the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC),  Michael Ogbara, invalidated her April 2015 election to represent Ogbia Constituency 3 at the Assembly.

The court therefore declared Ogbara winner of the poll for Ogbia Constituency 3 and ordered the INEC to issue a Certificate of Return to him, an order the commission complied with on 21 December 2015.

But Ogoli, a candidate of the PDP, has approached the Appeal Court asking it to reverse itself on the judgment it delivered in favour of the ADC candidate, and uphold the ruling of the trial tribunal which ordered a rerun election in Ogbia Ward 6 while declaring her winner in the rest of the  wards.

A similar action had also been taken by the former Speaker of the Assembly, Konbowei Benson, but the appellate court refused to grant his prayers and stood by its earlier verdict on 9 December 2015 which also voided his election, too.

There had been concerns in some quarters over the alleged refusal of  the leadership of the Assembly to swear-in Ogbara several weeks after he received his Certificate of Return from INEC.

The development over Ogbia Constituency 3  has however sparked off anger among members of the opposition  and civil society groups in the state  including the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO).

It was gathered  that the ADC had petitioned the Assembly through a protest letter signed by over 50 of its members including the state secretary, Fidelis Ohirie, condemning the disobedience of the court’s order.

The CLO in a statement in Yenagoa on Tuesday described the non-swearing-in of Ogbara as “an affront” on the judiciary.

In the statement signed by the former state secretary of CLO, Alagoa Morris,the human rights group wondered why those who know better would not obey court judgment.

“The declared winner of the election, Ogbara Gabriel Michael is a victim of the forces of internal colonialism, oppression and impunity. He sure needs the support of all lovers of democracy, and those who believes in the rule of law.

“This is not just about an individual; it is about injustice, impunity, democracy and the rule of law. Those actions which make people to dislike military rule shouldn’t be tolerated in our hard-earned democracy”, he stated.

Morris urged Governor Seriake Dickson and the leadership of the Assembly to ensure the ADC candidate was sworn-in to enable him represent his people in government as their expectations were high.