With about one week to the Bayelsa State governorship election, a civil rights organisation, Truth Movement of Nigeria, has added a new dimension to the eligibility of the All Progressives Congress candidate, Mr. Timipre Sylva, arguing that he is not qualified to contest having been elected twice.
According to TMN, presenting Sylva for the December 5 governorship election would unconstitutional and implies seeking election for the third time as governor of the state.
The Deputy National Chairman of TMN (South-South zone), Chief Tam Jaja and its Deputy National Chairman (South-East zone), Chief Chris Udensi, made the observation at a press briefing in Abuja, entitled: “Chief Timipre Sylva and Bayelsa Guber election: The truth.”
The group said the issue has been settled by the Supreme Court in the case of Marwa vs Nyako.
The TMN cited Section 182 (1) (b) of the 1999 constitution as amended which stipulates that, “no person shall be qualified for election into the office of governor of a state if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections.”
ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC) HAS NO CANDIDATE IN THE DECEMBER 5TH 2015 GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION IN BAYELSA STATE
Chief Timipre Sylva has been nominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as its candidate for the December 5, 2015, governorship elections and, in the interest of TRUTH, and for the avoidance of any doubts, we want to clarify certain facts, based entirely on the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended).
Chief Sylva was elected governor of Bayelsa State TWICE – in 2007 and in 2008.
The Court of Appeal nullified his election in 2007 and he went on to win the re-run election in 2008.
If he were to go on and win the 2015 election, he would have been elected (and sworn in as governor), three times, S.182(1) of the Constitution states:
“No person shall be qualified for election to the office of the governor of a state if-
(b)….. He has been elected to such an office at any two previous elections.”
With regard to the maxim tenure of eight years for a governor, the Supreme Court in MARWA vs. NYAKO (2012) 6 NWLR (pt1296) 199 at F&G held that ” the governor of a state shall have a tenure of four years from the date he took the oath of allegiance and of office and of office and nothing more…”
Note that Chief Sylva had served seven months before his election was nullified by the court and, having served another full tenure of four years, if he were to serve yet another tenure of four years, he would have served a total of eight years and seven months- a situation totally alien to the Constitution.
To remove any ambiguity from these permutations, the Supreme Court held that to accede to the argument that the earlier tenure was a nullity, “….would render the tenure of governors indefinite as what it would take an elected governor whose election in (sic) nullified to remain in office almost indefinitely or for life is to continue to win the re-run elections which would then be nullified….
Thus, on the position of the law as contained in the Constitution and interpreted by the Supreme Court, Chief Timipre Sylva has been elected twice as governor of Bayelsa State and is therefore not qualified to contest the said election as the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as otherwise he would be seeking to serve as Governor of Bayelsa State for more than the maximum period of eight years allowed by the Constitution.
The APC does not therefore have a qualified candidate in the said forthcoming Governorship elections.
Let the law be given its true interpretation in the principle of “Fiat Justitia Ruat Caelum” which simply means; “Let Justice, Though the Heavens Fall”.
Let the truth be strictly adhered to.