An Appeal Court in Abuja has reversed the judgment of a Federal High Court disqualifying the Deputy-Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo from participating in the Bayelsa State governorship election on November 16.
This comes as Senator Degi-Eremienyo who is now the deputy governor-elect challenged the High Court verdict that restrained him from taking part in the recently concluded poll.
Justice Iyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on November 12 disqualified the lawmaker for allegedly supplying false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of requirement for the governorship poll.
In a judgment, Justice Ekwo said Senator Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in relation to his educational qualifications and went ahead to depose to an affidavit to correct the discrepancies.
The judge held that all his documents bore different names.
But in his ruling on Monday, a three-man panel chaired by Justice Stephen Adah held that the High Court erred in law and in breach of the appellant’s right to a fair hearing.
According to him, the case which was brought under Section 36 of the Electoral Act is criminal in nature and the respondents in the case ought to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Senator Degi-Eremienyo gave false information in his form C001 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of his qualifications to contest the election.
The Appellant Court held that more so the lawmaker submitted an affidavit sworn to court to prove that the names Adeyi-Eremienyo on his school-leaving certificate is one and the same as Degi-Eremienyo on his GCE certificate and newspaper cuttings announcing to the whole world a change in name and same was not challenged by the respondents in the lower court as such the findings of the lower court are erroneous.
The trial judge concluded by saying that “I agree with the appellant that the owner of the school leaving certificate and the GCE certificate are one and the same and I therefore set aside the judgment of the court below.”