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

By Emmanuel Oloniruha

Abuja, Nov. 7, 2023 (NAN)The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has re-amended its list of candidates for Bayelsa governorship election, restoring the names of Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC), earlier removed by the commission.

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

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

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

Oriaran-Anthony recalled that the final list of candidates for the 2023 Bayelsa Governorship Election was amended on Oct. 16.

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.

Oriaran-Anthony added that “the Court of Appeal in a judgement delivered on Oct. 31, 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 Court on 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,” Oriaran-Anthony said.

NAN reports that with the amendment list no 2, the number of candidates for Bayelsa has being restored to 16.

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

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

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

Ruling, Justice Donatus Okorowo held that allowing Sylva to contest again would breach the provisions of the 1999 constitution, having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as a governor of the state.

Justice in the judgment also said Sylva would spend more than eight years in office if allowed to participate in the election and eventually win.

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

The court, however, set aside the judgment of the high court and awarded a cost of N1 million against the respondent, Kolomo.(NAN)