By Eniola Olatunji
Bonfire at Government House, Yenagoa.Certificate of Returns.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Friday declared and presented certificate of returns to the People’sDemocratic Party, Gubernatorial Candidate in Balyesa State, Senator DouyeDirias Balya State Governor as the State capital, Yenagoa was engulfed in violent protests.
The State office of the PDP was torched; road to the Government House witnessed bon fires and blockade; the Justice Ministry was burnt while people suspected to be hoodlums stormed Diri’s house on Imgbi road, Amarata - Yenagoa vandalizing cars and destroying parts of his residence.
A curfew from 8pm to 6am was declared in Balyesa State by the Police and Governor DouyeDiri was sworn in at 1830 hours of Friday by the State Chief Judge. He pleaded that Balyesans should learn to forgive so that the State can move forward. Soldiers have been drafted to Yenagoa streets by the Federal Government.
There has been a stormy media war since Thursday between the All Progressive Congress, (APC) and PDP leadership over the Supreme Court nullification of the APC Governor-elect, David Lyon while he was at the Stadium rehearsing his inauguration which was scheduled for Friday (today) at 10:00 hours before he was ousted.
The Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomole had posited that the PDP Gubernatorial Candidate proposed by the Supreme Court to take over did not even win a quarter of votes cast and with a wide geographical spread and that no one would be sworn-in in that State on Friday which would provide an interregnum.
Rivers State Governor and top PDP leader, Nyesom Wike had countered that Oshiomole was neither the Supreme Court nor INEC to give directives on who should rule and how asking the Federal Government to call the APC Chairman to order.
Friday morning, INEC looked into their records of elections and announced the approval of Diri in compliance with the Supreme Court directives.
The Supreme Court in a 30 minute judgment on Thursday had nullified the victory of the APC Governor elect, David Lyon on the grounds that his Deputy Gubernatorial Candidate elect had different names on all his academic certificates namely, Primary School Certificate; West African Examination Certificate: University, Post Graduate and Masters Certificates which according to the court, the Deputy Governor elect did not bother to regularize with appropriate authorities.
The court held that since the Governor-elect and his deputy were elected on the same ticket, the court cannot divorce or separate the anomaly from the whole ticket though APC won by landslide votes.
INEC Chairman, MahmoodYakubu said that “The total votes cast after excluding those of APC now stand at 146,199. PDP polled 143,172 and scored25 percent as required by law”.