It is no longer news that the multiple identities of Senator Biobarakuma Degi-eremienyo, the All Progressives Congress (APC) deputy governorship candidate in the November election in Bayelsa, led his party to misfortune.
The fact that the sacked governor-elect, David Lyon begged people not to blame his running mate shows that many believe that Degi-eremienyo brought a monumental dislocation, some say calamity, in the politics of Bayelsa State through his carelessness in the duplicity of his names.
Through multiplicity of names, one of which is said to be his title, he denied himself the exalted position of deputy governor and robbed his party, the APC, the opportunity of ruling Bayelsa State since the creation of the oil rich state in 1996.
David Lyon who roundly won the election suffered incalculable loss when the Supreme Court found his candidature deficient due to the alleged sin of Degi-Eremienyo.
The Supreme Court found such name duplicity fraudulent and ruled that he forged the certificates.
But, what are the multiple identities in contention?
The PDP claimed in its suit against the APC that Degi-eremienyo’s name was written as Degi Biobara in his primary school certificate while the document from his secondary education bore Adegi Biobarakumo.
That was not all. The name changed to Degi Biobarakuma in his university certificate and also metamorphosed to Degi Biobarakuma Wangaha in his MBA certificate, Wangaha said to be a chieftaincy title he added in his fleet of names.
First, a Federal High Court disqualified him from contesting the November 2019 election on account of multiple unrelated names. May be, APC would have done the needful at that time to replace him. But, they didn’t and went for an appeal.
The Appeal Court on the other hand allowed his qualification, permitting him to contest the governorship election as Lyon’s running mate.
The Appeal Court ruled that a case of forgery was not established against Degi-Eremienyo because he had done the required ‘change of name’ as published in a national newspaper–a basic requirement of law you may say.
Unfortunately for them, on February 13, the Supreme Court did the unimaginable. The apex court finally, to the consternation of decent minded Nigerians, decided that Biobarakuma was not qualified to be Lyon’s running mate due to discrepancies in his names. No doubt, the political cost to Biobarakuma, Lyon and to the APC, is immeasurable to say the least.
With such multiplicity, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo joined the growing rank of Nigerians who lost their positions to alleged certificate forgery.
The February 13, 2020 development in Bayelsa State was also an important lesson to political parties to look beyond the surface in screening their aspirants for elective positions.