Court Fixes Jan 12 To Decide On Eligibility Of Sylva In Bayelsa Polls On Dec 5

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A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Maitama, has fixed January 12 for hearing in a suit challenging the eligibility of Timipreye Sylva to contest the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State.

Sylva, a former governor of the state, is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the December 5 governorship election in Bayelsa State.

The Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), filed the suit seeking to disqualify Sylva from participating in the election. The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that Sylva was not qualified to contest the election because he had been elected twice and had taken oath of office twice as governor of the state.

At the resumed hearing of the case, on Tuesday, counsel to the plaintiffs, Friday Nwosu, said that Sylva had previously been elected twice as governor of Bayelsa in 2007 and 2008.

“The 2007 election was nullified by the Court Of Appeal and Sylva contested and won the re-run election, whereupon he was elected the second time and served for about a cumulative period of four years and seven months as the governor of the state.

“He now seeks to be elected a third time as governor of Bayelsa State in the said forthcoming elections. “This is against the relevant constitutional provision in Section 182 (1)(b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.”

Counsel to the defendants, Akeem Afolabi, said they had filed a preliminary objection challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the FCT High Court to hear the case. Afolabi said that since the case related to the office of governor of Bayelsa, it is either the Bayelsa State High Court or the Federal High Court that has the jurisdiction to entertain it.

Justice Mukhtar Dodo ordered the lawyers to serve all the processes in the case on parties to the suit.

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