Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief
Timipre Sylva, has approached the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal to set
aside the judgement that disqualified him from participating in the Bayelsa
state governorship election billed for November 11.
Sylva, in a three-ground notice of appeal he filed through
his team of lawyers led by Dr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, faulted the judgement of the
Federal High Court in Abuja which declared him ineligible to participate in the
He maintained that the high court verdict was against
settled principles of law and notable precedents.
Consequently, the APC candidate, who is the immediate past
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, applied for stay of execution of the
judgement against him.
Specifically, he applied for an order of the appellate
court, “staying execution and/or further execution of the entire judgment and
the orders contained in the Judgment of the Court, delivered on the 9th
October, 2023, pending the hearing and final determination of the appeal lodged
against the judgement and Orders of this Court before the Court of Appeal,
He further prayed the court for an order of injunction,
restraining all the Respondents in the appeal from implementing and/or giving
effect to the declaratory and executory orders contained in the judgment.
According to him, Justice Donatus Okorowo of the high court
wrongly assumed jurisdiction by delving into an issue that was within the
domestic affair of a political party.
He argued that the issue of nomination of a candidate by a
political party is a non-justiciable cause of action.
Insisting that the judgement that disqualified him from
contesting the governorship election occassioned a grave miscarraige of justice
against him, Sylva, argued that the trial court had a duty to understand and
properly evaluate the case presented before it by the parties and apply the law
More so, in ground two of the appeal, Sylva, who is a former
governor of the state, maintained that Justice Okorowo erred in law when he
wrongly conferred, allowed and adjudicated on the matter, even though the
litigant had no locus standi to initiate or institute the action.
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He told the appellate court that the plaintiff in the suit
that led to his disqualification, Mr. Demesuoyefa Kolomo had admitted that he
did not participate in the primary election that produced him as the
governorship candidate of the APC.
Sylva contended that Mr. Kolomo, not being a contestant in
the primary election, lacked the legal right to query his emergence as the
flag-bearer of the APC.
He said the court failed to properly evaluate, determine and
pronounce on a preliminary objection he filed to challenge the competence of
the suit and thereby breached his right to fair hearing as enshrined in the
1999 Constitution, as amended.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the appeal to be
It will be recalled that the high court had in a judgement
it delivered Monday night, declared that Sylva was not eligible to participate
in the gubernatorial contest having already spent five years in office as
governor of the state.
The court stressed that since the 1999 Constitution, as
amended, okayed a maximum tenure of eight years for a governor, should Sylva
contest and win the impending election, he would exceed the constitutional
threshold by spending a total of nine years in office.
Justice Okorowo held that uncontroverted evidence that was
adduced before the court, established that Sylva had earlier taken the oath of
office as Bayelsa state governor, on two occasions.
Relying on a Supreme Court decided case-law in Marwa Vs
Nyako, the judge held that the constitution could not be stretched to elongate
the statutory period that someone could serve as a governor in the country.
He declared that Sylva was not a valid candidate for the
forthcoming Bayelsa state governorship poll.
The court directed the Independent National Electoral
Commission, INEC, to remove his name from the list of candidates for the
The judgement followed a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023,
which was brought against Sylva by a chieftain of the APC in the state, Kolomo.
The plaintiff had in the suit he filed on June 13, prayed
the court to among other things, determine: “Whether having regard to the
indisputable fact that Sylva occupied the office of governor of Bayelsa from
May 29, 2007, to April 15, 2008, and May 27, 2008, to January 27, 2012, he is
qualified to contest and be elected for another four years term in view of
section 180(2)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).”
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