The All Progressives Congress (APC) has explained that its governorship primary in Bayelsa State scheduled to hold on Friday will be open for all aspirants to contest for sake of fairness and in adherence to the Electoral Act 2022.

APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka stated this on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Thursday.

He said though the party leaders have sympathy for David Lyon over the loss of his mandate in 2020, “you cannot use sympathy to upstage legality and due process”.

Lyon, the APC candidate in the 2019 Bayelsa State Governorship Election, had been declared Governor-Elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

However, in February 2020, the Supreme Court sacked the Lyon, and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo and affirmed Duoye Diri and Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo as Bayelsa governor and deputy governor respectively


Lyon’s election was nullified after his deputy was accused of submitting forged certificates to INEC.

Lyon has bought the party’s N50m governorship ticket to contest Friday’s primary. Amongst some of his co-contenders is a former governor of the state and an ex-Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

Off-cycle governorship elections are expected to hold in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states on November 11, 2023.

APC Adopts Direct Primaries

For Friday’s governorship primaries in the three states, the APC said it will adopt the direct mode which involves all card-carrying members or registered members of the party in each of the wards of the three states to elect the aspirants of their choice as the party’s candidates.

Morka said Hope Uzodimma of Imo State is the sole aspirant of the party but the primary will hold in accordance with the Electoral Act 2022.

“Governor Hope Uzodimma is the sole aspirant for that position for our party in Imo. Even though he is the sole aspirant, the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 must be fulfilled, hence the conduct of the primary on Friday,” he said.

About six aspirants are vying for the ticket in Bayelsa including Lyon and Sylva.
The APC National Publicity Secretary said, “He (David Lyon) contested election and he won and the majority votes that he scored was never challenged or disputed.

“So, the fact that he was not inaugurated as governor was not because there was any question mark on his victory. He won the election free and clear but unfortunately some technical issues with the fellow who ran with him warranted some court order and deprived him of the fruit of that success.

He said many Nigerians cast their votes for him for years ago and they should vote him if he is still their preferred choice.

“They spoke loud and clear and now that a time has come for that election, we’re hoping that as citizens, they’re free to go to the primaries, for those of them who are members of the party to support him if that is their preference still or support any of the other aspirants in the race,” he said.

‘Bayelsa Gov Primary Will Be Fair’

Morka said a panel was dispatched on Wednesday to Bayelsa, warning that “we will absolutely not accept anything that is less than stellar, that is less than transparent and fair”.

“We expect the panel in Bayelsa to conduct the election with the highest possible standards of fairness and objectivity,” he stated.

Morka said what happened to Lyon in 2020 was not fair because he did nothing wrong but he was victimised by some technical faults traced to his running mate.

Asked whether the APC has treated Lyon fairly by not giving him an automatic ticket like Uzodimma, the APC spokesman said, “If this was up to individuals, I’m quite sure that the sentiments are with David Lyon but when you have laws that govern the process; the Electoral Act, the party’s constitution, the Federal Constitution of Nigeria at play, when people insist they want a competitive, fair, transparent process, and invoke provisions of the constitutions and the Electoral Act, you can’t shove it aside.

“If you take a barometer and measure the level of sympathy for David Lyon, yes, even amongst the leaders of the party, there are many who have enormous sympathy for his situation but at the end of the day, you cannot use sympathy to upstage legality and due process.

“Sometimes, no matter the strength of your sentiments, you yield to the law because if you don’t, the judges will not be govern by sentiments if the matter goes to court in a legal challenge.”

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