The hearing in a suit challenging the eligibility of Timipreye Sylva to contest the forthcoming governorship election in Bayelsa state has been fixed for January 12, 2016 by an FCT High Court, Maitama.
Sylva, who is a former governor of Bayelsa, is the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the Dec. 5 governorship election in Bayelsa.
Seriake Dickson, Governor of Bayelsa, 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.
Friday Nwosu, counsel to the plaintiffs, said at the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday that Sylva had previously been elected twice as governor of Bayelsa in 2007 and 2008.
He said, “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.
“The section states that, `no person shall be qualified for election to the office of governor of a state if- “(b) he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections.”
Akeem Afolabi, Counsel to the defendants, said they have filed a preliminary objection challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the FCT High Court to hear the case.
Afolabi said that the case related to the office of governor of Bayelsa; it is either the Bayelsa 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. He adjourned till Jan. 12, 2016 for continuation of hearing.
By Patrick Aigbokhan