The leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, has revealed that the sacked Bayelsa Deputy Governor-elect, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, was close to committing suicide over the allegation of certificate forgery levelled against him.
Recall that the Supreme Court nullified the election of David Lyon, the governor-elect and his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, on the eve of their inauguration and asked INEC to withdraw their Certificate of Return.
However, the APC approached the apex court, asking that the ruling be reviewed and set aside but the court struck out the application for lacking in merit.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, while featuring on Sunrise Daily, a programme on Channels Television, said the ruling was unfair and unfortunate.
He said the court did not give Degi-Eremienyo a chance to himself over the allegation, describing the judgment as a matter of life and death.
According to Sylva, he constantly checks up on the sacked Deputy governor-elect to be sure that he has not committed suicide or harmed himself.
The minister added Degi-Eremienyo has built his integrity on the certificate, adding that the case which is not a criminal matter should not have been treated in such a manner.
“Anybody that says it is not a matter of life and death doesn’t really understand the issue,” Sylva said.
“I’m today, dealing with a former deputy governor that is on the verge of committing suicide. Every day I have to call to be sure that he hasn’t done anything to himself.
“If you were here and somebody just said you forged your certificate, you built your life on that integrity and somebody–seven people, five people, all of a sudden bring everything down, that can actually lead to suicide.
“You’re now stigmatised for life as having forged your certificate.
“If you have a case in court challenging the authenticity of the certificate of a candidate, that is a different problem, but if you say you’re going to establish forgery and you have not heard from the person concerned, then you have not established anything.
“You haven’t gone to school or university where this person studied to confirm the veracity of the certificate and from paper evidence, you condemn such a person, it’s really very sad and for me, it is very dangerous.
“Forgery is supposed to be a criminal offence and when you have this kind of situation you have to come out and correct the impression. There was no forgery here at all. There were just variants of the name on the certificate and the Supreme Court went ahead to uphold the judgment of a lower court.”
Sylva also said the apex court should have upheld the judgment of the lower court which sacked only Degi-Eremienyo, not Lyon, saying that the court “seemed to have made a decision against the principles of justice”
“We are also saying that the Supreme Court has introduced extraneous things to that judgment. That judgment said that the deputy governor had been disqualified, but that judgment did not disqualify the governorship candidate,” he said.
“Supreme Court went ahead and disqualified the governorship candidate. Where did that come before the court because you don’t give what was not asked?
“We’re not saying that the Supreme Court erred, were saying that they overlooked certain things.”