Judgment against Sylva unfortunate, it's Democracy in action, says Ganduje
The Ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) says it will appeal the Court Judgment against its Bayelsa Governorship candidate, Timipreye Sylva.
Abdullahi Ganduje, APC National Chairman, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents on Tuesday in Abuja.
He described the Judgment as unfortunate, noting however that it was actually Democracy in action.
‘’Well, it’s unfortunate that Judgment, but we can say that it is Democracy in action.
“But, we learned that the Person who took the issue to the Court is not even qualified, because he did not contest with Sylva.
‘’Therefore, he’s not even qualified for him to take the issue to the Court. However, we are appealing. We’re waiting for the Judgment and then we appeal for calm on that issue,’’ Ganduje said.
A Federal High Court in Abuja disqualified former Bayelsa Governor, Timipre Sylva, from contesting the Election coming up in November.
The Judge, Justice Donaltus Okorowo, ruled on Monday that Sylva would violate the 1999 Constitution by running after having taken the Oath of Office twice and ruled for five years as Governor of Bayelsa.
Sylva was Governor of Bayelsa between 2007 and 2011 on the Platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Ganduje, however, said that the Judgment would not deter the Party from its arrangement for the Election coming up next month.
He said, ‘’Last two weeks, I was in Bayelsa for two good days and I think they were ready and they’re still ready to win the Election.
‘’Therefore, this is a little distraction anyway, but we will overcome it.
“We believe the Appeal Court will give us positive Judgment but that will not stop us from making arrangement for the forthcoming Election.”
The Appeal Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, vacated the Judgment of a Federal High Court, Abuja which nullified Timipre Sylva’s Candidacy for All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 11 Bayelsa Governorship Election.
The Three-Member Panel, in a unanimous Judgment read by Justice Binta Zubairu, held that Demesuoyefa Kolomo, who filed the Suit at the Trial Court lacked Locus Standi (Legal Right) to institute the case, having not been an Aspirant in the Primaries that produced Sylva as Party’s Candidate.
The Panel agreed with Counsel for Sylva, Ahmed Raji, SAN, that where a Party lacked Locus Standi, the Court had no Jurisdiction to entertain the Suit.
“The issue of Jurisdiction is fundamental and the bedrock of any Trial. And a Trial without Jurisdiction is a nullity,” Justice Zubairu said.
The Judge held that the argument by Kolomo, that the Suit was a Constitutional one and of grave importance to him as a Voter and other Voters in the Sate so that they would not vote for someone who was not qualified to contest in the Poll and had their Votes wasted at the end of the day, was of no relevance.
“I do not think the position of Kolomo makes him an Aspirant in the Election.
“All these are alien and not recognised in our Electoral Laws and Electoral Matters,” she said.
She also said that Kolomo’s argument that the Matter was a Public Interest Suit had no basis.
She further held that where a Party lacked the Legal Right to file a Suit, it would be an exercise in futility to consider other grounds of Sylva’s Appeal.
“The Appeal of the Appellant (Sylva) succeeds,” the Judge ruled.
Consequently, the Appellate Court, aside from setting aside the Verdict of the Trial Court, awarded the sum of N1 million in favour of the Appellant (Sylva) in the first Appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/1060/2023 between APC and Kolomo.
The Panel equally awarded the sum of N1 million in favour of Sylva in the Appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/1061/2023 between Sylva vs. Kolomo and two others.
Sylva’s Appeals were against the October 9 Judgment delivered by Justice Donatus Okorowo of a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, which disqualified him as Candidate in the November 11 Election.
Kolomo had, in the Suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023 filed on June 13, prayed the Court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delete Sylva’s name from list of Candidates contesting the November 11 Governorship Poll.
Kolomo had sued Sylva, the immediate-past Minister of State for Petroleum; APC and INEC as 1st to 3rd Defendants respectively.
Kolomo asked the Court to determine whether Sylva is qualified to contest in the Election, having occupied the Office of Governor of Bayelsa May 29, 2007 to April 15, 2008 and May 27, 2008 to January 27, 2012.
In the Affidavit attached, Kolomo deposed that besides being an APC Member, he was also a Registered Voter in the State.
He said INEC recently published the names of Governorship Candidates for the State, including Sylva’s name.
The Plaintiff said he was motivated by the need to vindicate Sections 180 (2)(a) and 182(1)b) of the1999 Constitution, the Rule of Law and to know the applicability of same as it relates to Sylva based on the above facts.
Kolomo also averred that the question raised by the instant Suit was a Constitutional one and of grave importance to him as a Voter and other Voters in the Sate so that they would not vote for someone who was not qualified to contest in the Poll and had their Votes wasted at the end of the day.
But Sylva, who was the immediate-past Minister of Petroleum, in a Counter Affidavit, prayed the Court to dismiss the Suit for lacking in merit.