Timipre Sylva, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, is facing additional challenges as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has unveiled revised lists of governorship candidates for the upcoming November 11th election. Notably absent from these lists are Sylva and his running mate, Joshua Maciver,Daily Trust report.
This development has stirred apprehension among APC supporters, drawing parallels to the situation that prevented the party from assuming leadership in the state following their victory in the 2019 gubernatorial election. In that instance, David Lyon, the APC’s gubernatorial candidate, had secured a win and was poised for inauguration when the Supreme Court nullified his victory on the grounds that his running mate had submitted fraudulent documents to INEC.
Fast forward four years, Lyon sought to secure the APC ticket again but was supplanted by Sylva. According to the revised list published on the INEC website on Tuesday, Sylva and his running mate were omitted due to a Federal High Court ruling on October 10th that disqualified them from participating in the state’s gubernatorial election.
The document, signed by the Commission’s Secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, revealed that the columns for the names of the APC candidate and his running mate were left empty, accompanied by the notation “Court order.”
In the judgment that led to Sylva’s disqualification, Justice Donatus Okorowo held that, given Sylva’s two prior inaugurations and five-year tenure as Bayelsa state governor, his candidacy would violate the amended 1999 constitution. The judge also stated that Sylva was ineligible to run in the November poll, as his election and subsequent swearing-in would result in him serving more than eight years as governor.
In response to the exclusion of their candidate, the APC Gubernatorial Campaign Council encouraged party supporters not to be disheartened. The Council’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Perry Tukuwei, assured in a statement on Wednesday that the party’s legal team was actively addressing the situation and expressed confidence in achieving victory at the Court of Appeal. He emphasized, “We are firmly on course with no distractions. Our lawyers are fully equipped to handle the situation, and we anticipate a successful outcome at the Court of Appeal. We will emerge victorious.”