Appeal Court rejects suit seeking Sylva’s removal from the Bayelsa governorship
Timipre Sylva, a former minister of petroleum resources, was given permission by an appeal court on Friday to run in the governorship election on Saturday.
This is less than 24 hours before the Bayelsa governorship election.
The last lawsuit in a series requesting the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for governor’s seat to be eliminated from the race was dismissed by the Appellate Court today.
Mrs. Isikima Johnson filed an appeal against Sylva and two other parties. In her ruling, Justice Binta Zubar stated that the suit was not only unjusticeable but also brought in bad faith by the appellant against the defendants.
The court concurred with Mr. James Ogwu Onoja, SAN, that Sylva cannot be upheld legally for the accusations that she took the governorship oath twice, as the first instance was declared illegal by appropriate courts.
The claims against the APC that its primary election on April 14, 2023, which produced Sylva as the flagbearer, was conducted in violation of the law were also rejected by Justices Zubar in the appeal designated CA/ABJ/CV/1052/2023.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the African Progressive Party (APC) presented substantial evidence demonstrating that all legal procedures were followed in the primary election’s conduct, and Onoja’s arguments were accepted by the court in a unanimous ruling.
In his brief on behalf of Sylva, Onoja explained how the APC decided to elect the governorship candidate through direct primary.
Additionally, the manner in which the 106 Wards of the 8 Local Government Areas of Bayelsa were administered by a 5-man Electoral Committee on April 14th.
The senior attorney further detailed how Sylva received 52062 votes, placing her in first place, and the appellant receiving 584 votes, placing her fourth behind Joshua Maciver’s 2078 votes.
With 1584 votes, David Perewomini Lyon came in first, followed by Ongoebi Etebu (1277 votes) and Daumiebi Festus Sunday (557 votes) in last place.
The Appeal Court ruled that the Appellant’s claims that Sylva emerged without a primary election were unfounded in light of the uncontested evidence and the monitoring report of INEC, a statutory authority.
“It was undeniably evident from the uncontested independent report of INEC that the APC held a legitimate primary election and that the electoral umpire, as required by law, observed the proceedings.”
Justice Zubar further declared that the appellant’s case was statute barred since it was filed as a pre-election matter beyond the legally permitted 14-day period.
All in all, the Court of Appeal sustained the ruling of Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which on September 26 dismissed the lawsuit due to lack of substance and merit.
Through an initial summons, the appellant had brought APC, INEC, and Sylva before the Federal High Court, pleading for an order that would bar him from running in the next Bayelsa State governorship election in November.
She had two reasons for her resentment of Sylvia. Sylva had twice been elected to the position of governor and had twice taken the oath of office and allegiance.
In addition, she asserted that the primary election held on April 14 that resulted in Sylva was illegitimate and unlawful because it was purportedly conducted against APC norms.
Nevertheless, the suit was dismissed by the High Court, and the Court of Appeal upheld this decision.