The All Progressives Congress (APC) has announced its intention to appeal a court judgment that disqualified Timipre Sylva from running in the upcoming Bayelsa State governorship election.
The Federal High Court on Monday, in a judgment delivered by Justice Donatus Okorowo, ruled that Sylva, who had been sworn in twice and governed Bayelsa for five years, would be in violation of the constitution if allowed to contest again.
But Perry Tukuwei, the Director of Media and Publicity for the APC Bayelsa Gubernatorial Campaign Council, expressed confidence that the court of appeal would overturn the trial court’s verdict in a statement issued on Tuesday.
Tukuwei said, “This reassurance is in reaction to a judgment which has the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate written all over it by a Federal High Court in Abuja in an already failed bid to dash the hopes of Bayelsa people to have their preferred candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva as the next helmsman at Creek Haven by Feb. 14, 2024.
“Sections 29 and 84 of the 2022 Electoral Act state that only persons who contested primaries of a political party that has the locus standi to file a pre-election matter to challenge the qualification of the party’s candidate in any election hence the suit filed by one Chief Demesuoyefa Kolomo who is not a member of the APC and didn’t contest our party’s governorship primaries do not have the locus standi to sue in the matter.
“Section 285 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution enjoins any aggrieved party to file an election matter within 14 days of the occurrence of the event but this case was filed on the 13th of June 2023 whereas INEC published the names of the governorship candidates for Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi on May 12.”
He further argued that the case is time-barred as it was filed beyond the 14-day window. He emphasized that Bayelsa residents should not be discouraged by the court’s decision.
He said, “To perfect their sinister act, the case was filed in Abuja. Is Abuja Bayelsa?
“Subsequently, the Bayelsa APC can smell the coffee and sinister moves by Gov. Douye Diri to go through the back door which is his usual practice having realised that our governorship candidate is coasting home to victory already following unrivalled acceptance across the state.”