The court of appeal in Abuja has reversed the disqualification of ex-Minister of Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, as the November 11 governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State.
Recall that on October 9, the Federal High Court in Abuja disqualified Sylva from contesting the gubernatorial election.
Delivering judgment, Donatus Okorowo, presiding judge, held that Sylva, having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as State Governor, would breach the 1999 constitution if allowed to contest again.
Okorowo held that Sylva was not qualified to run in the forthcoming poll because if he wins and is sworn in, he would spend more than eight years in office as Governor of the State.
However, on October 10, Sylva appealed the judgment of the Court where he faulted the verdict and urged the appellate court to set it aside and uphold his nomination.
Meanwhile, Demesuoyefa Kolomo, a member of the APC, had sued Sylva and asked the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delete his name from the list of candidates contesting the governorship election.
The plaintiff posited that by the provisions of section 182(1)\(b) of the 1999 constitution (as amended), Sylva is not qualified to contest the election on the platform of APC or any other political party because he was elected in April 2007 and May 2008.
On October 25, INEC removed Sylva’s name from the list of candidates contesting the Bayelsa governorship election.
The electoral body had said it was served with a court order on the nomination of the APC candidate.
Following the back and forth, a three-member panel of the appeal court in a unanimous judgment on Tuesday, held that the trial court which nullified Sylva’s candidature lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit filed by Kolomo, who was not an aspirant in the primaries that produced Sylva as the APC governorship candidate.
The court also awarded the sum of N1 million to be paid to Sylva in the appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/1060/2023 between APC and Kolomo.
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Reacting, State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Doifie Buokoribo, who spoke with Vanguard in Yenagoa described the verdict as a big win for democracy and a victory for Bayelsa.
His words, “The appeal Court ruling is a big win for democracy and a victory for Bayelsa State.
“It has given Bayelsa a choice in terms of light and darkness, forward and backward.
“What comes out clearly in the course of this contest is that the People’s Democratic Party, which is the incumbent government in the state is fearful of our party (APC) and our candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva. That is why they have been running from one court to the other.
“But we thank God that justice has been done at the Appeal Court and Sylva restored on the ballot.”