The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voters Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, stated this in a reaction to the nullification of the state’s governorship election which produced Sen. Duoye Diri.
Okoye, however, noted that the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) nomination for the election was invalid while the party did not exercise its right guaranteed in the Fourth Alteration to the constitution by filing its suit within 14 days of the accrual of the said right.
He said that the ANDP conducted party primaries and submitted the name of one Peter David as its Deputy Governorship candidate.
“As at the time of the submission of the name of the said candidate, he was 34 years-old, contrary to Section 177(b) of the constitution that makes it mandatory for a candidate for such office to attain the age of 35 years to be eligible to contest the election.
“In the candidate’s statutory declaration of age and affidavit attached to his form, the party stated that he was born on Feb. 10, 1985.
“On Sept. 13, 2019, the commission wrote to the party drawing their attention to the constitutional age requirement of 35 years for Governorship/Deputy Governorship candidates as stipulated in Section 177(b) of the constitution.
“The commission also informed them of the invalidity of their nomination for the Nov. 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State,” he said.
Okoye also recalled that on Sept. 21, 2019 and in response to the letter of the commission dated Sept. 13, 2019, the ANDP wrote the commission acknowledging the invalidity of it nomination and forwarding the name of one Miss Inowei Janeth as their new Deputy Governorship candidate.
“On Sept. 27, 2019, the commission informed the party that the deadline for the submission of nominations as provided for in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities released by the commission on May 16, 2019 was Sept. 9, 2019.
“The commission also informed the party that since they did not submit valid nomination, they couldn’t validly substitute any candidate.
“Consequently the name and logo of the party did not appear and was not reflected in the ballot paper.