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Court Rejects Suit Seeking Timipire Sylva’s Disqualification

In a recent development, the Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled on a significant legal matter, dismissing a suit aimed at disqualifying former Petroleum Resources Minister, Timipire Sylva, from contesting the November governorship election in Bayelsa State.

The plaintiff, Hon Isikima Johnson, had initiated the lawsuit against the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and Timipire Sylva. His primary contention was that Sylva should be disqualified based on two key arguments: first, that Sylva had previously held the governorship office twice and had taken the oath of office and allegiance twice; second, he claimed that the April 14 primary election that led to Sylva’s nomination was conducted in violation of APC’s guidelines and was therefore illegal.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his ruling, found that the plaintiff had failed to provide sufficient evidence to support these allegations, and as a result, the case lacked merit. The judge made the following key points:

  1. The plaintiff did not present convincing evidence to establish that APC had not conducted a lawful primary election that resulted in Sylva’s nomination.
  2. Independent reports from INEC confirmed that a valid primary election had been conducted by APC and monitored by the electoral umpire, complying with the requirements of the law.
  3. The police reports submitted by the plaintiff, which asserted that no primary election was held by APC, were deemed to be without value and were considered products of illegality, as the police were not authorized by law to take such actions.
  4. The court criticized the police reports for not being on official police letterhead paper, raising doubts about their authenticity.
  5. The judge clarified that the primary responsibility of the police during primary elections is to ensure the safety and security of election materials and voters.
  6. The court also emphasized that the suit was not filed within the stipulated 14-day period of the subject matter occurring, making it an academic matter. The court, therefore, declined to engage in matters of an academic nature.

In conclusion, Justice Ekwo ruled that the plaintiff’s case was weak and lacked the necessary preponderance of evidence required by law. He issued an order to dismiss the case, stating that it lacked merit and could not withstand scrutiny in the eyes of the law.

This legal decision has significant implications for the upcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State, as Timipire Sylva remains eligible to participate in the contest.

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