Court of Appeal Upholds Timipre Sylva’s Eligibility in Bayelsa Governorship Race

Survival of Timipre Sylva’s Governorship Ambition

The governorship ambition of Timipre Sylva, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Bayelsa State, has successfully navigated another legal challenge.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Friday, cleared the way for Sylva’s participation in the upcoming Saturday governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Dismissal of Lawsuit

The Court dismissed a suit that sought to exclude Sylva from the race.

Justice Binta Zubar, delivering the judgment, stated that the suit was unjustifiable and brought in bad faith by the appellant, Hon Isikima Ogbomade Johnson, against the respondents.

Invalidation of Allegations

Justice Zubar, in agreement with Senior Advocate of Nigeria James Ogwu Onoja, ruled that the allegations of Sylva taking the oath of governorship office twice cannot stand in the face of the law.

This is because competent courts had previously invalidated the first oath.

The Court also dismissed allegations against the APC regarding the legality of the primary election that produced Sylva as the flagbearer.

Verification of Primary Election Legitimacy

The unanimous judgment supported Onoja’s arguments that the evidence presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and APC demonstrated the legality of the primary election.

Onoja outlined how APC adopted a direct primary, conducted on April 14, with valid steps taken in the process.

Sylva emerged as the winner with 52,062 votes.

Court’s Decision on Statute Bar

Justice Zubar held that the appellant’s case was statute-barred, as it was filed outside the 14-day window allowed by law for pre-election matters.

The Court emphasized that the Independent National Electoral Commission’s independent report confirmed the validity of the primary election.

Affirmation of Previous Judgment

In conclusion, the Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo on September 26.

The High Court had earlier dismissed the suit for lacking merit and substance.

Background of the Lawsuit

Hon Isikima Ogbomade Johnson had filed a suit against APC, INEC, and Sylva, seeking to disqualify Sylva from participating in the November governorship election in Bayelsa State.

The grounds for her complaint included Sylva’s alleged double election into the governorship office and the purported illegality of the April 14 primary election.

The Court’s decision affirms the legitimacy of Sylva’s candidacy and reinforces the proper conduct of the APC’s primary election, clearing the path for his participation in the upcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State.

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