Off-cycle Elections: INEC Deletes Sylva’s Name in Bayelsa, Adds Ishiogu as PRP Candidate in Imo

Off-cycle Elections: INEC Deletes Sylva’s Name in Bayelsa, Adds Ishiogu as PRP Candidate in Imo

In a final clean-up of the list of governorship candidates for the 11 November governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday removed the name of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr. Timipre Sylva and his running mate, Joshua Maciver in Bayelsa state and added the

In a final clean-up of the list of governorship candidates for the 11 November governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday removed the name of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr. Timipre Sylva and his running mate, Joshua Maciver in Bayelsa state and added the names of Mr. Uchechukwu Ishiodu as governorship candidate and Mr. Ahumbe Chiazor as the running mate of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) for the election in Imo State.

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on 10 October,2023 disqualified Mr. Sylva from participating in the state governorship election. Justice Donatus Okorowo, in the judgment, ruled that Mr. Sylva having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as governor of Bayelsa would breach the 1999 constitution as amended if allowed to contest again.

The judge also declared that Sylva was not qualified to run in the November poll because if he won and was sworn in, he would spend more than eight years in office as governor of the state.

Also the Federal High Court, Owerri judicial division in Suit No. FHC/OW/CS/35/2023 – PRP & Anor v. INEC, amongst others, equally ordered INEC to include the name of the PRP governorship candidate in the list of nominated candidates already published on the INEC website.

The amended list, which was signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, was uploaded on the Commission’s website. In the uploaded list, the columns for the names of APC candidate and his ruining mate were left blank with “court order” remarks on it.

The INEC Secretary, in the amended document, explained that the action of the Commission was in obedience to court orders on the lists, posted on the Commission’s website.

According to her, the commission published the final list of candidates for 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election on June 9 in accordance with the provision of Section 32 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Election.

She said after the said publication, the commission was served with an order of court in respect of the nomination of candidate of the APC for Bayelsa governorship election.

Her words: “By virtue of the provision of Section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Commission is bound to enforce the orders of court on nomination of candidates by political parties in the state.

“The Amended list of candidates in respect of the 2023 Bayelsa State governorship election is hereby amended pursuant to the orders of court served on the commission,” Mrs. Oriaran-Anthony said.

On Imo state, Mrs Oriaran-Anthony recalled that INEC also published the final list of candidates for the state governorship election June 9 in accordance with the provision of Section 32 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Election.

According to her :”After the said publication, the Commission was served with an Order of Court for the inclusion of the PRP and its candidate on the list of candidates for the 2023 Imo State governorship election.

“By virtue of the provision of Section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the commission is bound to enforce the orders of court on nomination of candidates by political parties in the State.

“The Amended list of candidates in respect of the 2023 Imo State Governorship election is hereby amended pursuant to the Orders of Court served on the Commission,” Oriaran-Anthony said.

This is , however, not the first time APC would be having political misfortune in Bayelsa state. On 13 February 2020,the Supreme Court sacked Mr. David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governor-elect of Bayelsa State, barely 24 hours to his inauguration.

Mr. Lyon, who won the November 2019 governorship election, was to be sworn in as governor when a five-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Odili nullified his election on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in aid of his qualification for the November 16 governorship election in the state.

The apex court in the judgment delivered by Justice Ejembi Eko consequently ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to Messrs Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo.

The court also ordered that INEC should immediately declare the party with the highest number of lawful votes and geographical spread the winner of the election.

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