A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed a hearing for the suit challenging the eligibility of Timipreye Sylva, the former governor of Bayelsa State, to contest the December 5, gubernatorial election in the state for Tuesday, January 12, 2016.
Governor Seriake Dickson and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) filed the suit challenging Sylva’s eligibility because he has been elected twice and had taken oath of office twice as the governor of the state, NAN reports.
On Tuesday, December 1, at the resumed hearing of the case, Friday Nwosu, the counsel to the plaintiffs said that the former governor had previously been elected in 2007 and 2008.
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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.
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 he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections”.
Akeem Afolabi, the counsel to the defendants said they had filed a preliminary objection challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the Abuja High Court to hear the case.
Afolabi said it was either the Bayelsa High Court or the Federal High Court had the jurisdiction to entertain a case related to the office of governor of Bayelsa.
The case was adjourned till Tuesday, January 12, 2016 by Justice Mukhtar Dodo
In a related development, a socio-political organisation, Truth Movement of Nigeria (TMN) has said that Sylva, who is the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa state is not qualified to contest the election, having been elected twice.
The TMN said it was unconstitutional to be fielding Sylva for the December 5 governorship election in the state.