More than 48 hours after the Bayelsa governorship election, Governor Douye Diri was re-elected to a second term as the coastal state’s leader.
“That Diri Douye of the PDP, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” the Returning Officer for the election Prof Faruq Kuta said in declaring Diri the winner of the exercise after multiple breaks and adjournments.
In a closely contested election in the oil-rich state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate defeated his All Progressives Congress (APC) colleague Timipre Sylva.
Diri, who took office in 2020, received 175,196 votes, while Sylva received 110,108 votes. According to the results, the PDP candidate defeated his nearest challenger by 65,088 votes. The Labour Party (LP) finished a distant third with 905 votes.
Among the 18 contenders, Sylva was Diri’s main contender. The former Minister of State for Petroleum was running for re-election as governor of South-South state for the third time.
He served as governor from May 2007 to April 2008, then as state governor again from May 2008 to January 2012.
His third effort to become governor of Bayelsa State, however, was a rough one. The Federal High Court in Abuja barred him from running for office about a month before the election.
According to Justice Okorowo, because Sylva has served twice and for five years as governor of the state, allowing him to run again would be a violation of the 1999 constitution as amended. He ruled that if the APC candidate is elected and sworn in, he will serve as governor of the state for more than eight years.
Following the verdict, INEC removed him from the list of candidates for the election. However, on October 31, 2023, APC and Sylva filed an appeal with the Appeal Court, which later overturned Sylva’s disqualification.Sylva, on the other hand, was defeated in the 2023 election.