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‘It’s prejudicial’ — Sylva asks INEC to restore his name on list of Bayelsa guber candidates

Timipre Sylva, former minister of state for petroleum resources Timipre Sylva, former minister of state for petroleum resources

Timipre Sylva, former minister of state for petroleum resources, has asked the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to “immediately” restore his name on the list of governorship candidates in Bayelsa. 

In a letter addressed to Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of INEC through Ahmed Raji, his counsel, Sylva said it is “prejudicial” to delete his name from the ballot.

The name of Sylva’s running mate, Joshua Maciver, was also deleted from the ballot.

Both men are candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the poll.

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INEC recently published the final list of candidates for the off-cycle polls in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi on June 9.

But on October 10, the federal high court in Abuja disqualified Sylva from participating in the election.

The court held that Sylva, having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as governor of  Bayelsa would breach the 1999 constitution if allowed to contest again.

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In the amended list of candidates posted on the commission’s website on Tuesday, the column meant for the Bayelsa APC candidates was left blank with the remarks “court order”.

‘IMPLICATION IS DIRE’

In the letter dated October 25, Sylva’s lawyer said having appealed the matter, the court, not the electoral body should determine if Sylva’s name should be removed.

“The implication is dire and grave,” the letter reads.

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“In view of the fact that the issue election, is barely seventeen (17) days from today. If the election is held without our Client while the matter is pending either at the Court of Appeal or proceeds to the Supreme Court, the loss to our Client would be irreparable.

“This is in view of the fact that he would have been completely shut out, without any recourse to any remedy, having not participated in the general election.

“Whereas, if he was allowed to participate, there is no prejudice to the ongoing appeal or the Respondents.

“This is in view of the fact that in the unlikely event that the court rules against him, he would be entitled to appeal to the Supreme Court and if he eventually does not win, he would be removed and the second runner-up, with the second highest lawful votes cast, would be sworn in.

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“Our Client does not have such privilege, if our esteemed office fails to reverse your position and the election proceeds without him.

“It is also, imperative to note that the Court of Appeal and the potential appeal that may emanate from the Court of Appeal’s decision would also have been prejudiced by your decision of the removal of our Client’s name.

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“All parties, including the Commission are before the court and have joined issues. The Court and not the Commission should humbly be allowed to determine this issue one way or the other, without being overreached by the Commission’s decision.”

The lawyer asked INEC to “as a matter of urgency” withdraw and suspend the amendment list and “allow the due process of law to prevail”.

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