By Daniel Edu
Timipre Sylva’s aspirations to run for the governorship of Bayelsa State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have hit a roadblock, as the Court of Appeal in Abuja has declined the requests from the APC and Sylva to stay the execution of the judgment that nullified their candidature.
Sylva had filed an appeal and a stay of execution in response to a Federal High Court judgment in Abuja that disqualified him from running as the APC candidate because he had previously served two terms as governor.
In a unanimous decision by a three-member panel of justices, Justice William Daudu dismissed the motions for lacking in merit.
The high court’s ruling had established that Sylva was ineligible to participate in the November election because, if he were to win and be sworn in, he would exceed the constitutional limit of serving as governor for more than two terms. The court referred to the case of Marwa vs. Nyako at the Supreme Court, which emphasized that the constitution restricts individuals from being elected as governor more than twice. Both parties in the case agreed that Sylva had already served two terms.
The court also cited the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Marwa vs. Nyako, which affirmed that no one can expand the scope of the constitution. Allowing Sylva to contest in the upcoming election would effectively mean that an individual can run for the position as many times as they desire.
The lawsuit, with the reference number FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023, was initiated on June 13, 2023, by Deme Kolomo, a member of the APC.
In compliance with the court’s decision, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) omitted Sylva’s name and that of his running mate, Joshua Maciver, from the list of candidates for the November 11 election. The list, signed by the Commission’s Secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, had the spaces for the names of the APC candidate and his running mate left empty, with the notation “Court order.”