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Bayelsa Poll: APC Chieftain Seeks Court Intervention to Bar Sylva From Contesting

In the attached affidavit, Kolomo stated that he was both an APC member and a registered voter in the state of Bayelsa.

By Musa Aliyu, Abuja

Demesuoyefa Kolomo, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has requested the Federal High Court in Abuja to instruct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove Timipre Sylva’s name from the list of candidates competing in the Bayelsa governorship election scheduled for November 11th.

This plea was presented to Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court in Abuja through a lawsuit filed by Prof. Abiodun Amuda-Kannike, SAN, who is representing Kolomo. The lawsuit, labeled as originating summons with the reference number FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023 and filed on June 13th, names Mr. Sylva, APC, and INEC as the first, second, and third defendants, respectively. Kolomo has posed two questions to be resolved by the court.

Including ”whether having regard to the indisputable facts that Sylva was elected to the office of Governor of Bayelsa on two previous occasions; April 14, 2007, and May 24, 2008, he was qualified to contest the Nov. 11 election in view of Section 82 (1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“Whether having regard to the indisputable fact that Sylva occupied the office of Governor of Bayelsa May 29, 2007, to April 15, 2008, and May 27, 2008, to Jan. 27, 2012, he is qualified to contest and be elected to the office of Governor of Bayelsa for another four years term in view of Section 180(2)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Therefore, Kolomo requested a declaration that, according to Section 182(1)(b) of the amended 1999 Constitution, Timipre Sylva was ineligible to run for the position of governor of Bayelsa under the APC or any other political party in the November election or any future election.

He also sought an order instructing INEC to remove Sylva’s name from the list of governorship candidates representing the APC or any other political party in the upcoming November 11th poll or any subsequent elections, as he was not qualified to participate.

In the attached affidavit, Kolomo stated that he was both an APC member and a registered voter in the state of Bayelsa.

He asserted that Sylva was initially elected as governor of Bayelsa on April 14, 2007, assuming office on May 29, 2007. However, his election was annulled by the Court of Appeal on April 15, 2008, leading to his removal from office. Sylva was subsequently reelected on May 24, 2008, and served as governor until January 27, 2012.

Kolomo mentioned that INEC recently published the names of governorship candidates for the state, including Sylva’s name.

The plaintiff expressed his motivation for bringing the lawsuit, stating the importance of upholding Sections 180(2)(a) and 182(1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, ensuring the rule of law and clarifying Sylva’s eligibility based on the aforementioned facts. He emphasized that the constitutional question raised in this suit was of significant importance to him and other voters in the state, as it would prevent them from casting their votes for an unqualified candidate, thereby avoiding wasted votes.

During the mention of the case, Amuda-Kannike informed the court that the APC and INEC had been served, but Sylva had not been successfully served by the bailiff.

“Therefore, we have filed a motion for substituted service,” stated the lawyer.

The motion, dated June 19 and filed on the same day, was made in accordance with Order 6, Rule 5 of the court.

Justice Okorowo granted the application and adjourned the hearing until June 26.

It is worth noting that Sylva previously served as governor of Bayelsa under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In 2006, he contested the PDP governorship primaries against ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, who was also vying for the same position at the time. Despite Sylva winning the PDP candidacy and the subsequent election in 2007, his victory was challenged by Ebitimi Amgbare of the defunct Action Congress (AC). The Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt overturned the tribunal’s decision, nullifying Sylva’s election on April 15, 2008. However, in a new election held on May 24, 2008, Sylva was reelected and served as governor until his tenure was terminated by the Supreme Court on January 27, 2012.

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