On November 11, the Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) disclosed its course of action following the removal of Chief Timipre Sylva, their gubernatorial candidate, by a court ruling. Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, decided on Monday to disqualify Sylva from participating in the upcoming November governorship election in the state.
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In his ruling, the high court judge cited a violation of the 1999 constitution as amended, asserting that Sylva’s candidacy was invalid due to his previous two terms and five-year tenure as Governor of Bayelsa. In response to this setback, Perry Tukuwei, the Director of Media and Publicity for the APC Bayelsa Gubernatorial Campaign Council, announced that the party intends to appeal the judgment.
Tukuwei released a statement on Tuesday in Yenagoa, expressing confidence that the Court of Appeal would overturn the Federal High Court’s ruling. He stated, “The party has instructed its legal team to file an appeal, and we are optimistic that the Court of Appeal will reverse the decision of the Federal High Court.”
Tukuwei suggested that the judgment favoured the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, insinuating political bias. He also pointed out legal issues with the case, such as the plaintiff’s lack of membership in the APC and failure to contest the party’s governorship primaries, as required by Sections 29 and 84 of the 2022 Electoral Act.
Furthermore, Tukuwei argued that the case was filed beyond the constitutionally prescribed 14-day window for filing election matters, as it was submitted on June 13, 2023, after the publication of the governorship candidates’ names on May 12 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This, he contended, made the case statute barred.
He also criticized the choice of filing the case in Abuja rather than in Bayelsa, as directed by a Supreme Court directive for pre-election matters to be heard in the state where party primaries were conducted.
Tukuwei concluded by suggesting that the ruling was part of a larger scheme by Governor Douye Diri and the PDP to thwart the electoral success of Chief Timipre Sylva, asserting that the people of Bayelsa should not be discouraged by these tactics and should continue supporting Sylva’s candidacy.
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