Court Disqualifies APC’s Timipre Sylva from Bayelsa Governorship Poll

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that Timipre Sylva, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Bayelsa State Governorship Election, is not eligible to contest in the November 11 poll. The court held that Sylva had already served two terms as governor of Bayelsa State, and allowing him to run again would violate the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The judgement was delivered on Monday by Justice Donatus Okorowo, who granted the suit filed by Demesuoyefa Kolomo, a member of the APC in Bayelsa State. Kolomo had challenged Sylva’s qualification to contest in the election, arguing that he had occupied the office of governor of Bayelsa from May 29, 2007 to April 15, 2008 and May 27, 2008 to January 27, 2012.

Justice Okorowo agreed with Kolomo’s submission and cited the case of Marwa vs. Nyako at the Supreme Court, which stated that nobody should be voted for governor more than twice. He noted that Sylva was voted into office two times and ruled for five years as governor of Bayelsa. He added that Sylva would spend more than eight years in office if allowed to participate in the election and eventually win.

The judge also dismissed the preliminary objection raised by Sylva’s counsel, who argued that Kolomo lacked the locus standi to file the suit. He said Kolomo had shown sufficient interest as a member of the APC and a registered voter in Bayelsa State.

The ruling has thrown the APC into confusion as it has less than a month to find a replacement for Sylva, who is also facing corruption charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The APC has vowed to challenge the court’s decision at the Court of Appeal and expressed confidence that Sylva would be cleared to contest the election.

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