Home Politics We Disqualified ANDP in Bayelsa Because the Party Nominated an Underage Candidate – INEC

We Disqualified ANDP in Bayelsa Because the Party Nominated an Underage Candidate – INEC

by Amadu Victor
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Following the drama that trailed the nullification of the September 16, 2019 Bayelsa State Governorship election by the state’s election petition tribunal, many have questioned the legality of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), excluding a duly registered political party from an election which they have candidates nominated for, oyogist.com reports.

However, the Commission has come out to clear the air on why they disqualified the candidate of Advanced National Democratic Party (ANDP), King George, and as well exclude the party’s logo from the ballot papers for the election.

According to reports made by the Leadership Newspaper which can be accessed on leadership.ng, INEC alleged that the decision to disqualify the ANDP and its candidate for the election was based on the ground that the party’s candidate did not meet up with the age requirement as required by the constitution.

According to reports, the three member panel of justices had yesterday, nullified the election on the ground that the ANDP was unlawfully excluded from the election by the INEC. The majority judgement delivered by justices Owei Woniwei and Yunusa Musa, held that INEC unlawfully excluded the ANDP and its candidate, King George from the election. The two justices argued that there is merit in the case filed by ANDP and thus, nullified the September 16, 2019 governorship election, ordering that a fresh election be conducted within the next 90 days. However, the chairman of the tribunal, Justice Sirajo delivered a minority judgement, arguing that there was evidence that the ANDP was disqualified from the election for fielding an ineligible candidate.

Justice Sirajo maintained that ANDP nominated an underage deputy governorship candidate, who admitted that he was 34 years old, instead of 35 years as stipulated by the constitution. It was equally reported that INEC through its Commissioner and chairman, information and voter education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed that the ANDP conducted its primaries and submitted the name of one Peter David as its deputy candidate.

He also confirmed that the deputy candidate was 34 years old, as against the stipulations of section 177(b) of the constitution which made it mandatory that candidate for such position must be at least 35 years of age to be eligible to contest for the election.


It was also revealed in the deputy governorship candidate’s statutory declaration of age and affidavit attached to his form, the party stated that he was born on February 10th, 1985. Okoye also confirmed that INEC wrote to the party on September 13, 2019, drawing their attention to the constitutional age requirement of 35 years for Governorship or Deputy Governorship candidates which is stipulated in section 177(b) of the constitution.

INEC confirmed that ANDP equally acknowledged the receipt of their letter, and on the 21st of September, 2019, replied with the name of one Miss Inowei Janet as their new deputy governorship candidate. However, this was coming after the deadline for submission of nominations as provided for in the timetable and schedule of activities had elapsed.

The commission also confirmed that it informed that since they did not submit a valid nomination, they could not validly substitute any candidate. As a result, the name and logo of the party were not included on the ballot papers.

Following the judgement, the state’s Governor, Senator Duoye Diri has confirmed that he will be heading to the Appeal Court as he believe that INEC was right to have excluded the ANDP and its candidate from the election.

However, many are of the view that the Appeal Court may retain the judgment of the tribunal. But what we will have to wait to see is how the court will handle the issue of submitting a name to substitute an invalid nomination after the deadline for submissions has elapsed.

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