Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Friday Kombowei Benson at the weekend insisted he would not vacate his seat and remained the validly elected representative of the Southern Ijaw Constituency 4.
Benson insisted that the purported written judgement was different from the record of the court’s proceeding on December 9, 2015.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, in a written judgement delivered on December 9, 2015, nullified the election that returned Benson.
But about 52 days after, Benson faulted the authenticity of the written judgement, saying the record of proceedings on that day showed that the appeal of the APC candidate, Mr. Ebifaghe Orunimighe, was dismissed in the open court.
Addressing journalists in his office at the House of Assembly complex in Yenagoa, Benson insisted that the ruling of December 9, 2015, rather upheld his election.
Benson said, “On the 9th of December, the Appeal Court dismissed the appeal by Orunimighe challenging my election. On January 14, a purported judgement alleging that my election has been declared null and void emerged. This is strange and untrue.
“What transpired in the open court in the presence of lawyers was outright dismissal of the appeal brought by my opponent. The judgement was delivered in the open court thereby upholding my election in the House of Assembly.”
To further clarify the issues, the speaker said he had through his team of lawyers filed a motion on notice.
He said in the suit, he prayed the Appeal Court to set aside the judgement that was not in conformity with its declaration in the open court on December 9 and further prayed the court to make an order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission to stay execution on the judgment pending the determination of the motion on notice.
“This motion has been served on the National Judicial Commission, president of the Appeal Court, the Department of State Service, Commissioner of Police, clerk of the House and other officers and some important personalities.
“My team of lawyers and other lawyers who were in court have also in the same vein sworn to affidavit to the fact that the judgement delivered in the open court was dismissed.”
However, the APC candidate in the April 2015 Bayelsa poll, Mr. Orunimighe has asked Mr. Benson to respect the judgment of the court.
Orunimighe warned Benson during a news conference to stop parading himself as speaker or risk going to prison.
The APC candidate, who noted that his lawyers had begun a contempt process against Benson, said, “Our attention has been drawn to recent reports credited to Kombowei Benson where he unequivocally stated that he still remained the speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly because the judgement declared by the Court of Appeal in open court on December 9, 2015, affirmed his victory.
“Ordinarily, we should not have reacted to such fallacious publications, but our reticence may mislead the unseeming minds from discerning between reality and fiction.
“It is based on this realisation that we are indeed compelled to react. It is unfortunate that Kombowei Benson is accentuated by greed and desperation to disseminate such deliberate falsehood to mislead members of the society, including his pastors and church members.
“Elementary intelligence, logic and commonsense suggests that a person who claims to win a case should produce the judgement of the court confirming his victory. Where is the judgement delivered on December 9, 2015, where Konbowei claimed victory?
“For the avoidance of doubt, let it be established right away that the unanimous judgement of the Court of Appeal delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko on December 9, 2015, declared the election of Benson as the purported winner of the House of Assembly seat for Southern Ijaw Constituency 4 held on the 11th April, 2015, as null and void.
“Therefore, the Appeal Court ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct elections within 90 days from the date of judgement.”

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