By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress APC on Tuesday suffered a technical knock out in the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa state as a Federal High Court in Abuja disqualified its deputy governorship candidate, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, from participating in the election.
Delivering judgment, Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo ordered Degi-Eremienyo’s disqualification on the grounds that he presented false information about his educational qualifications in his Form CF001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission as a candidate for the 2019 poll.
The Judge held that the act amounted to giving false information in violation of section 31(5) and (6) of the 2010 Electoral Act.
Justice Ekwo noted that the Form CF001 was a document validated by oath, adding that “the consequence of lying on oath is grave”.
He noted that it had been held in Action Congress V. INEC (2007) “that where a candidate is found to have lied on oath, a court must issue an order disqualifying such a candidate from contesting the election”.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1101/2019 was instituted on September 18, 2019 by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, its governorship candidate in Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, and Lawrence Ewhruojakpo.
Joined as defendants were the APC, its governorship candidate in the forthcoming election in Bayelsa State, David Lyon Pereworimin, Degi-Eremienyo, and INEC.
Upholding PDP’s case in his judgment on Tuesday, Justice Ekwo held that that Degi-Eremienyo presented documents of academic qualifications with various variations of names different from the name that appeared on his Form CF001.
The names on the different documents attached to his Form CF001 were said to be, Biobarakum Degi-Eremienyo, Degi Biobaragha, Degi Biobarakuma, Adegi Biobakunmo, Degi-Eremienyo Wangagha
The APC’s candidate was said to have claimed to have obtained “his First School Leaving Certificate in 1976” and presented to INEC “a First Leaving School Certificate of one Degi Biobaragha other than the one bearing his name Biobaragha Degi-Eremieoyo as shown in his INEC Form CF001”.
He was also said to have claimed to have “obtained his West African Examinations Council General Certificate of Education in 1984” and presented to INEC, “a GCE certificate of one Adegi Bibakuo other than the one bearing his name Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo as shown in his INEC Form CF001.”
Justice Ekwo held that there was no evidence to prove that the documents with different name variations were his.
He said “I further hold that the information given by the 3rd defendant on Form CF.001 that the documents thereto attached as his have not by any iota of credible evidence been so established.
“The information is false in all material particular as none of the said documents have any nexus with the name of the 3rd defendant (Degi-Eremienyo) on the said Form CF001.”
The judge went on to make a declaration “that the information which the 3rd defendant submitted to the 2nd defendant in his INEC Form CF001, that, affidavit in support of personal particulars of person seeking election to the office of the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State is false contrary to section 31(5) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).”
He also said, “A declaration is hereby made that by virtue of the mandatory constitutional and statutory provisions of sections 6(6), 186 and 187(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the 3rd defendant stands disqualified from contesting the forthcoming Bayelsa State Governorship election as Deputy Governor, slated for November 16, 2019 or any other state thereabout on the platform of the 1st defendant (APC) or any other political party by reason of the fact that the 3rd defendant has presented false information as to his educational qualifications or name in INEC Form CF001 in support of his nomination contrary to section 31(5) and (6) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).
“An order is hereby made disqualifying the 3rd defendant as the Deputy Governorship candidate at the 1st defendant (APC) in the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa State governorship election by reason of the 3rd defendant presenting false information to the 2nd defendant (INEC) in support of his nomination contrary to section 31(5) and (6) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).”