Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has congratulated his Bayelsa counterpart, Sen. Douye Diri, on his victory at the Appeal Court on Friday.

He said that the verdict of the appellate court was a welcomed development, adding that the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, which nullified Diri’s election earlier, ought not to have entertained the petition in the first place as it was a pre-election matter and was status barred.

Okowa stated this in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, and commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for acting well on the matter as Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) indeed, failed to present a qualified candidate for the election.

He also commended the five-man panel of the Appellate Court for overturning the ruling of the tribunal.

According to the governor, the judgement of the appellate court on the matter is a victory for the nation’s democracy and a reaffirmation of the powers of INEC to act as an unbiased umpire.

“I welcome the judgement of the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on the Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition with immense joy and appreciation to the judiciary for doing justice on the matter.

“This ruling has once again reaffirmed the powers of INEC to act as an unbiased umpire, especially in dealing with issues of improper nomination by political parties.

“I must commend the courage and sagacity exhibited by the five-man panel of the court which ruled that the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) failed woefully to show that it had a valid candidate that was unlawfully excluded by INEC.

“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta, I congratulate my brother Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on this victory.

“The case was a needless distraction as the tribunal ought not to have entertained the petition because it was a pre-election matter and was also status barred.

“This victory is for all Bayelsans, and I urge the ANDP to sheathe its sword and work for the interest of the people of the state,” he said.