Judgment on a suit seeking Mr. Timipre Sylva’s disqualification from contesting the Nov. 11 Bayelsa gubernatorial election was postponed on Friday by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
However, due to the absence of Justice Inyang Ekwo, the day’s first case on the cause list could not proceed.
Judgment has been set for September 26 by the court.
Justice Ekwo reportedly set today as the day for his verdict to be announced on July 6.
Mrs. Ogbomade Johnson, a candidate for governor of Bayelsa under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has filed a lawsuit against Sylva, the former minister of state for petroleum, with the case number FHC/ABJ/CS/575/2023.
According to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN), Mrs. Johnson filed a lawsuit against the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Sylva on April 27. The action was originally filed on April 24.
She asked the judge to issue an injunction ordering INEC to remove APC and Sylva’s names off the official lists of political parties and candidates running in the next November election.
The disappointed candidate sought, among other things, a permanent injunction preventing Sylva from representing himself as the APC’s candidate for governor of Bayelsa.
She claimed that the APC had taken her and five other aspirants for a ride by demanding and receiving the sum of N10 million, and that the party was therefore contractually obligated to hold the primary election in Bayelsa in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the regulations and guidelines of the political party.
Johnson also asked for a declaration that the APC did not have a candidate to run for the primary election on April 14 because of the party’s primary election being conducted in violation of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the party’s own laws and standards.
On April 14, the APC held primaries and selected Mrs. Johnson, Sylva, Joshua Maciver, Festus Daumiebi, Mrs. Maureen Ongoebi, and David Lyon as candidates.
Sylva received 52, 061 votes, Maciver 2, 078 votes, Johnson 584 votes, Daumiebi 557 votes, Ongoebi 1, 277 votes, and Lyon 1, 584 votes, according to unofficial results from the primary election held in 102 of the 105 wards throughout the eight local governments in the state.
Sylva, the ex-minister, asked the court to throw out the case in a counter affidavit.
He claimed that, contrary to Johnson’s deposition, he had no impediment to running for election as governor of Bayelsa and was thus perfectly competent to do so.
He said he had only ever been the governor of Bayelsa once.
Sylva said he and five others, including Johnson, ran in the APC primary on April 14.
According to him, he became the party’s nominee after receiving the most votes in a direct primary held in compliance with the requirements for the election, the APC constitution, and the Electoral Act, 2022. This primary was held in eight different local government districts.
He claimed that the primary was held and the results in which he received the majority of votes were accepted, and that the fact that he had received messages of congratulations from major APC stakeholders in the state was evidence that his victory reflected the aspirations of the party members.
Dr. Stanley Ugboaja, the APC’s chief of staff to the deputy national organising secretary, also pleaded with the court to throw out the case in the party’s rebuttal affidavit.
Sylva’s supporters maintained that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the consolidated appeal, issued on January 27, 2012, was in favor of Sylva’s candidacy for reelection, not in opposition as Johnson had claimed.
According to the statement, the country’s central election board carried out the direct primary vote in accordance with the applicable standards, as well as the requirements of the Electoral Act and the country’s constitution.
According to the APC, INEC conducted poll monitoring and published a report about the party’s primaries.
“An appeal was filed with the defendant’s Appeals Committee challenging the outcome of the aforementioned primaries.
The Appeal Committee found the appeal to be without merit and so dismissed it. Attached as Exhibit F is a copy of the Appeal Committee’s report.
That the plaintiff was asked to give a list of her agents in each of Bayelsa State’s 105 electoral wards in a letter dated April 13, 2023, but she did not do so.
She didn’t even cast a ballot in her own electoral district. A copy of the aforementioned letter is attached as Exhibit G, the party stated.