The All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed its dissatisfaction with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for removing Chief Timipre Sylva from the list of governorship candidates for the upcoming Bayelsa governorship election scheduled for November 11.
Mr. Felix Morka, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, issued a statement addressing the party’s concerns and the legal processes underway.
The party’s statement came in response to INEC’s updated list of gubernatorial candidates, which notably excluded Chief Timipre Sylva. This exclusion is believed to be linked to a High Court judgment delivered on October 9, which disqualified Sylva as the APC’s gubernatorial candidate.
The APC swiftly appealed the judgment and initiated various legal processes to seek a stay of the judgment’s execution. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Court of Appeal granted an order for an expedited hearing of the case, now scheduled for October 27. Morka emphasized that INEC is a party in this matter and has been served with all relevant documents and orders concerning the case.
In the party’s view, INEC’s decision to delist Chief Timipre Sylva at this stage is premature and could preclude the outcome of the pending appeal. the party said removing Sylva from the list of governorship contestants in Bayelsa may create a situation of helplessness for the appellate court, the candidate, and the party should the appeal succeed.
“The attention of the APC has been drawn to the updated list of gubernatorial candidates for the Nov. 11 governorship election in Bayelsa by INEC, which excluded our candidate’s name, Chief Timipre Sylva, Morka said.
“This action by INEC may not be unconnected with the High Court judgment of October 9, which disqualified Chief Timipre Sylva as the candidate of our party. Our candidate and party promptly appealed that judgment and brought other processes seeking a stay of the judgment’s execution.
“Recognising the extreme urgency of the matter, the Court of Appeal granted an order of accelerated hearing of the matter now fixed for definite hearing on Friday, Oct. 27,” Morka added.
Mr. Morka called upon INEC to reconsider its amendment in the interest of fairness. He also urged the people of Bayelsa, especially the APC’s members and supporters, to remain patient while the judicial process follows its due course.
The APC expressed confidence in the judicial system and the belief that their candidate will ultimately prevail, both at the Court of Appeal and at the polls.
The case leading to Chief Timipre Sylva’s disqualification stems from a judgment issued by Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on October 9. In his ruling, Justice Okorowo determined that Sylva, having previously held the position of governor in Bayelsa and serving two terms, would violate the 1999 constitution as amended if allowed to run for the governorship again.
The APC’s legal battle to reinstate its candidate continues, setting the stage for a contentious and closely watched contest in Bayelsa’s gubernatorial election.