The All Progressives Congress (APC) did not have candidate in the November 16, 2019 governorship elections in Bayelsa state, according to a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Ntufam Mba Ukweni.
The SAN therefore said the series of mass protests being embarked upon by the party and its supporters following the nullification of Governor-elect David Lyon was just effort in futility.
Ntufam Ukweni said the APC’s mass protests had no meaning and cautioned the protesters to desist from further action that would destabilise governance and disrupt official functions in that state.
“Nobody is complaining that APC won the election but APC was from the beginning not supposed to be in the contest because they had no candidate. The candidate they presented was not qualified for the position, so the court having removed them, the next person, the next highest votes is automatically taking the position because in the eye of the law, APC did not participate in the election.
“Before a person goes to pick a deputy, he should be sure that the deputy is qualified to occupy the position, a deputy governorship candidate must be as qualified as the governorship candidate because whatever affects the deputy governorship candidate affects the governor; that is precisely what has happened
“So the protest, as far as I am concerned, goes to nothing, it doesn’t make impression in any person’s mind because the court has spoken, and they are not saying that, what the court said was wrong.
“It would have made some sense for them to say ‘No.’ What the court says or decision of the court is wrong but to go and start protesting that the court should not have removed their candidates when they know themselves that their candidate was not qualified at the first place, is a wrong preposition.
“So the protest is an attempt to play to the gallery. We should play down on this issue of protest. Even when PDP was going to protest and have been protesting, some of us held the strong view that we should not go into the Street to protest the decision of court because you will ridicule the process.
“Court system is build on the reputation of the court, the judiciary, so if a decision is given today against you and you go to castigate the court for giving that decision and tomorrow, a decision is giving to favour you, that is precisely what is playing now.
Further, he said since the APC has seen that PDP protested against the decision that was in favour of the APC, now they want to do a return match by going into the Streets to also protest against the decision that has been given obviously now in favour of PDP.
“There are procedures; judicial procedures and mechanism for one to express his dissatisfaction with a decision of the court. The judicial system is completely at a parallel angle with political system.”
Looking at the case as a pre-election one, Ntufam said ,“It doesn’t matter; it was a pre-election matter challenging the legibility of the candidate. The matter went from the trial court to the court of appeal up to the Supreme Court and Supreme Court is the final court on the issue and has taken that position. The matter arose from a pre-trial election dispute,” he stated.
“That was the decision of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the final court, they have reviewed the entire case and came out with a position that the deputy governorship of the APC was from the beginning not qualified to be a deputy governorship candidate.
“So they have nullified whatever votes were given to APC because both the deputy governorship candidate and governorship candidate have a joint ticket, it is not separated, it is inseparable. So if there is any virus that affects the Vice, that is the Deputy candidate, it affects the Governorship candidate,” the SAN said.