Abuja Court Disqualifies Timipre Sylva as APC Bayelsa Guber Candidate

October 10, 2023
timipre sylva oil minister

By Adedapo Adesanya

Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has disqualified the Bayelsa State All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the November 11 governorship election, Mr Timipre Sylva.

Justice Okorowo ruled that Mr Sylva, having been sworn in twice and served five years as governor of the state, would breach the 1999 constitution as amended if allowed to contest again.

The judge also declared that Mr Sylva was not qualified to run in the November poll because if he wins and is sworn in, he would spend more than eight years in office as governor of the state.

While citing the case of Marwa vs Nyako at the Supreme Court, Justice Okorowo noted that the drafters of the country’s constitution stated that nobody should be voted for as governor more than twice and that the parties to the suit agreed that Mr Sylva was voted into office two times.

He further stated that the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Marwa vs Nyako that nobody can expand the constitution or its scope. So, if Mr Sylva is allowed to contest the next election, it means a person can contest as many times as he wishes.

The suit was filed on June 13, 2023, by Mr Deme Kolomo, a member of the APC.

Mr Sylva had resigned from the cabinet of erstwhile President Muhammadu Buhari where he was the Minister of State for Petroleum to contest for the Bayelsa governorship position where he had served one term and has constitutional rights to contest for another tenure of four years.

Mr Sylva governed the state under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) between 2008 and 2012 but switched alliances to the APC.

In 2007, a member of the then Action Congress (AC), Mr Ebitimi Amgbare, filed a suit to challenge his victory.

Mr Amgbare took the case all the way to the appeal court in Port Harcourt, and on April 15, 2008, that court overturned the decision of the Bayelsa State Election Petitions Tribunal and declared Mr Sylva’s election to be invalid.

This occurred despite the fact that the Bayelsa State Election Petitions Tribunal had previously ruled in Mr Sylva’s favour.

The five judges on the appellate court came to a conclusion without dissent and issued an order mandating that Speaker, Mr Werinipre Seibarugo, be sworn in to replace Mr Sylva in his role as acting Governor, with a new election to take place within the next three months.

On May 24, 2008, a new election was held, and Mr Sylva, who was standing again as the PDP candidate, was elected with an overwhelming majority of the votes, receiving 588,204 of around 598,000 total votes.

However, in 2012, his tenure was terminated by the Supreme Court, with an acting governor appointed to oversee the state.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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