Bayelsa guber poll: INEC removes Timipre Sylva from candidates list

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has removed the name of Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the list of candidates for the November 11 governorship election.

INEC also removed the name of Sylva’s ruining mate, Joshua Maciver, from the list.

 This was observed in the amended list of candidates released released by the Commission

The amended list was signed by the Secretary of INEC, Rose Oriaran-Anthony,

The column containing the names of APC candidates and his ruining mate was left empty in the list on the INEC website, with the words “court order” written.

The Commission also listed Ahumbe Chiazor as the running mate and Uchechukwu Ishiodu as the governorship candidate for the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) in the state election of Imo.

In the revised document, Oriaran-Anthony clarified that the Commission’s actions complied with court orders on the lists supplied to it.

INEC amended list

According to her, the Commission received a court order regarding the APC’s nominee for the Bayelsa governorship race after it was published.

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“By virtue of the provision 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 Amended list of candidates in respect of the 2023 Bayelsa State governorship election is hereby amended pursuant to the court orders served on the commission,” Oriaran-Anthony said.

She further reminded Imo voters that in compliance with Section 32 of the Electoral Act of 2022 and the timetable and schedule of activities for the election, INEC released the final list of candidates for the state governorship election on June 9.

She said after the publication, the Commission was served with an order of court for including the PRP and its candidate on the 2023 Imo State governorship election list.

The ICIR reported that a Federal High Court in Abuja disqualified Sylva from participating in the Bayelsa State Governorship Election.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023, Demesuoyefa Kolomo, a member of the All Progressives Congress in the state, asked the court to determine Sylva’s eligibility for the election, given his past terms as governor of Bayelsa from May 29, 2007, to April 15, 2008, and from May 27, 2008, to January 27, 2012.

But, in his affidavit, Sylva stated he was elected once as the state’s governor, disputing the 2007 election’s occurrence. While citing an April 2008 court of appeal ruling that nullified the 2007 election, the former minister also emphasised his constitutional and legal right to contest the most-coveted seat in the state.

However, delivering judgment on Monday, October 9, the presiding judge, Donatus Okorowo, held that Sylva, having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as governor, would breach the 1999 constitution if allowed to contest again.

Okorowo also said Sylva, who served as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources in the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari, would spend more than eight years in office if allowed to participate in the election and eventually win.

Okorowo highlighted that the drafters of the nation’s constitution explicitly stipulated that a person should not be elected governor more than twice. 

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He further mentioned that all parties involved in the case acknowledged that Sylva had been elected into office twice.

Okorowo stated that if Sylva could contest the next election, any citizen could contest for a political office as often as they wish.




     

     

    In less than a month (on November 11), Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo state residents will elect a new governor as INEC conducts the states’ off-cycle governorship poll.

    The states are three of six states in Nigeria with off-season governorship polls. 

    The current governor of Imo State’s term expires on January 14, 2024; Kogi and Bayelsa States had respective terms that expire on January 26, 2024, and February 13 of the same year.

    The ICIR, in this report, presented the top candidates in the three states and their chances.

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    Bankole Abe
    Reporter at ICIR | [email protected] | Author Page

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