DEGI-EREMIENYO: THE CONFLICTING NAMES THAT DISQUALIFIED APC DEPUTY GOVERNOR

These are the different names traceable to the APC Deputy
Governor in Bayelsa that led to Supreme Court disqualification
of the governor.
He bore these names at different stages of his life.
Mr Degi-Eremienyo’s name was written as Degi Biobara in his
primary school certificate.
The documents from his secondary education bore Adegi
Biobarakumo, as his name.
While that of his university education had Degi Biobarakuma as
his name.
Also his MBA certificate had Degi Biobarakuma Wangaha as
the name of the same person.
As the Deputy Governor-Elect he bore
Mr Degi-Eremienyo.
Why Supreme Court sacked Bayelsa gov-elect, deputy
The Supreme Court on Thursday sacked David Lyon and
Sen. Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, as the governor and
deputy elect in the Nov. 16, 2019 Bayelsa governorship
election.
Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgment
reinstated the Nov. 12, 2019, Judgment of the Federal High
Court in Abuja that disqualified Degi-Eremieoyo from
participating in the governorship poll.
The court held that the trial court was right in finding the
deputy guilty of presenting false information to INEC.
The Justice Mary Odili-led panel, held that no person shall
be qualified to contest election if he presented false
information for the purpose of election.
The apex court ordered that the certificate of return be
withdrawn immediately from the governor and his deputy
and be issued to the candidate with the second highest
votes in the Nov. 16, 2019 election.
The apex court held that the nomination form Degi-
Eremieoyo submitted to INEC for the purpose of the Nov.
16, 2019, governorship election in the state, contained false
information of fundamental nature.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had asked the court
to regard the discrepancies in Degi-Eremienyo’s certificates
as major impediments to his candidacy.
They accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) running
mate of providing different names at all levels of his
education.
The PDP alleged in its case that Mr Degi-Eremienyo’s name
was written as Degi Biobara in his primary school
certificate, the documents from his secondary education
bore Adegi Biobarakumo, as his name, while that of his
university education had Degi Biobarakuma as his name.
Also, the result from his MBA certificate had Degi
Biobarakuma Wangaha as the name of the same person.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja had dismissed the PDP’s case
and affirmed the candidacy of the deputy governor-elect in
the Nov. 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
The judgment set aside the Nov. 12, 2019 verdict of Justice
Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja
disqualifying Degi-Eremieoyo as the APC’s deputy
governorship candidate in the poll.
The Appellate court held that the Federal High Court judge
erred in his decision disqualifying the APC’s deputy
governorship candidate.
It held that there were not enough grounds for the Federal
High Court to rule the way it did, adding that the allegation
that Degi-Eremienyo gave false information to INEC was not
proved as required.
It faulted the lower court’s reliance on Section 31(5 and 6)
of the Electoral Act in disqualifying the APC’s deputy
governorship candidate.
The court added that the allegations against Degi-
Eremienyo were criminal in nature which required proof
beyond reasonable doubt.
It said that the different names contained in the appellant’s
Form CF 001, his First School Leaving Certificate and
General Certificate of Education belonged to the same
person, going by the supporting affidavit of change of name
and newspaper publication.
The appellate court therefore set aside the Federal High
Court’s judgment, and awarded N500, 000 cost against the
respondents in favour of the appellants.
The Federal High Court had in its judgment held that Degi-
Eremienyo gave false information to INEC about his
academic qualifications allegedly evidenced by the
discrepancies in the names contained in his credentials.
The trial court also held that the names on the different
documents attached to his Form CF001 were said to be,
Biobarakum Degi-Eremienyo, Degi Biobaragha, Degi
Biobarakuma, Adegi Biobakunmo, Degi-Eremienyo
Wangagha.
The APC’s candidate was said to have claimed to have
obtained “his First School Leaving Certificate in 1976” and
presented to INEC “a First Leaving School Certificate of one
Degi Biobaragha other than the one bearing his name
Biobaragha Degi-Eremieoyo as shown in his INEC Form
CF001.”
He was also said to have claimed to have “obtained his
West African Examinations Council General Certificate of
Education in 1984” and presented to INEC, “a GCE
certificate of one Adegi Bibakuo other than the one bearing
his name Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo as shown in his
INEC Form CF001.”
Justice Ekwo held that there was no evidence to prove that
the documents with different name variations were his.
He ruled, “I further hold that the information given by the
3rd defendant on Form CF.001 that the documents thereto
attached as his have not by any iota of credible evidence
been so established.
“The information is false in all material particular as none of
the said documents have any nexus with the name of the
3rd defendant (Degi-Eremienyo) on the said Form CF001.”
The judge went on to make a declaration “that the
information which the 3rd defendant submitted to the 2nd
defendant in his INEC Form CF001, that, affidavit in support
of personal particulars of person seeking election to the
office of the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State is false
contrary to section 31(5) of the 2010 Electoral Act (as
amended).” (NAN)

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