Bayelsa 2023: INEC restores Slyva’s name on candidates’ list

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has re-amended its list of candidates for the Bayelsa State governorship election, restoring the names of Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which was earlier removed by the commission based on a high court judgement.

“The Amendment No 2: Amended list of candidates for the 2023 Bayelsa State governorship election pursuant to court orders” published on the INEC website on Monday, was signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Rose Oriaran-Anthony.

Ms Oriaran-Anthony explained that the release of the list “Amendment No 2” in which names of Mr Sylva and his ruining mate, Joshua Maciver, were re-added was in obedience to a recent judgement of the Court of Appeal.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that INEC had on Tuesday, 24 October, uploaded an amendment list on its website with the name of Mr Sylva and his running mate removed in obedience to order of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Ms Oriaran-Anthony recalled that the final list of candidates for the 2023 Bayelsa State governorship election was amended on 16 October.

This, according to her, is pursuant to the Order of the Federal High Court in Suit No-FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023 in respect of the nomination of the APC candidate.

Ms Oriaran-Anthony added that “the Court of Appeal in a judgement delivered on 31 October 2023 in Appeal No-CA/ABJ/CV/1060/2023 set aside the judgement of the lower court cited above.

“By virtue of the provisions of Section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the commission is bound to enforce the Orders of the Court on the nomination of candidates by political parties in the state.

“The list of candidates in respect of the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship election is hereby amended in Amendment No 2 pursuant to the judgement of the Court of Appeal,” Ms Oriaran-Anthony said.

NAN reports that with the second amendment list, the number of candidates for Bayelsa State has become 16 again.

Second amendment list (PHOTO CREDIT: NAN)
Second amendment list (PHOTO CREDIT: NAN)

NAN also reports that on 31 October, the Court of Appeal in Abuja set aside the 9 October judgement given by Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, nullifying the nomination of Mr Sylva as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Bayelsa governorship election scheduled for 11 November.

NAN reports that the Federal High Court had on 9 October disqualified Mr Sylva from the contest following a suit by a member of the APC in the state, Demesuoyefa Kolomo.

Mr Kolomo in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023, had asked the court to determine whether Mr Sylva was qualified to contest in the election, having occupied the office of governor of Bayelsa State from 29 May 2007 to 15 April 2008, and 27 May 2008 to 27 January 2012.

Ruling, Donatus Okorowo held that allowing Mr Sylva to contest again would breach the provisions of the Nigerian constitution, having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as a governor of the state.

The judge, in the judgement, also said Mr Sylva would spend more than eight years in office if allowed to participate in the election and eventually win.

But in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel on 31 October, the appellate court held that the litigant who initiated the suit that led to Mr Sylva’s disqualification lacked the locus standi to do so.

The court set aside the judgement of the high court and awarded a cost of N1 million against the respondent, Mr Kolomo.


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