The Federal High Court in Abuja has rendered a verdict disqualifying Chief Timipre Sylva, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), from participating in the upcoming Bayelsa State election scheduled for November 11.
The ruling, delivered on Monday by Justice Donatus Okorowo, holds that Chief Timipre Sylva’s candidacy would contravene the 1999 constitution as amended due to his previous terms in office.
Justice Okorowo’s decision stems from the fact that Sylva has held the position of governor in Bayelsa State for two terms, totaling five years. Allowing him to contest again, the judge argued, would result in him serving more than eight years as governor if he were to win and be sworn in.
Citing the Supreme Court case of Marwa vs Nyako, Justice Okorowo reiterated that the drafters of the Nigerian constitution explicitly stated that no individual should be elected governor more than twice. In this case, all parties involved acknowledged that Sylva had been elected into office twice.
The judge further emphasized that the Supreme Court has previously ruled, in the Marwa vs Nyako case, that the constitution’s provisions and scope cannot be altered. Therefore, allowing Sylva to participate in the upcoming election would effectively permit individuals to contest the gubernatorial position an unlimited number of times.
This verdict has significant implications for the Bayelsa State election, as it disqualifies a prominent candidate and underscores the importance of adhering to constitutional term limits for elected officials. The decision is expected to shape the electoral landscape in Bayelsa as the race for the governorship intensifies ahead of the November polls.