On Friday, the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court adjourned the judgment in a suit seeking Timipre Sylva’s disqualification from contesting the November 11 Bayelsa governorship poll until Tuesday.
Justice Inyang Ekwo had, on July 6, fixed Friday for the judgment. However, the matter, which was number one on the day’s cause list, could not go on due to Mr Ekwo’s absence.
The court, therefore, fixed September 26 for judgment.
The suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/575/2023, was filed by Ogbomade Johnson, an All Progressives Congress (APC) aspirant for Bayelsa governorship election against Mr Sylva, the immediate-past Minister of State for Petroleum.
Ms Johnson, in the suit dated April 24 but filed April 27, had sued APC, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Mr Sylva as first to third respondents, respectively.
She prayed the court for an order of mandatory injunction compelling INEC to delist the names of APC and Mr Sylva from the list of political parties and candidates for the November election.
The aggrieved aspirant also prayed for a perpetual injunction restraining Mr Sylva from parading himself as the APC’s governorship candidate in Bayelsa, among others.
She sought a declaration that the APC was duty-bound in contract to commence and conclude the primary election in Bayelsa in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the regulations and guidelines of the political party after having demanded and received N10 million from her, along with other five aspirants.
Ms Johnson further sought a declaration that by the conduct of the APC’s primary poll on April 14 in contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022, and the regulations and guidelines of the political party, the APC had no candidate to field for the poll, among other reliefs.
The APC had cleared Ms Johnson, Mr Sylva, Joshua Maciver, Festus Daumiebi, Maureen Ongoebi and David Lyon as aspirants in the April 14 primaries.
In the primary election conducted in 102 of the 105 wards of the eight local governments in the state, Mr Sylva was said to have scored 52,061 votes; Mr Maciver scored 2,078; Ms Johnson scored 584; Mr Daumiebi scored 557; Ms Ongoebi scored 1, 277 and Mr Lyon scored 1,584 votes.
In a counter affidavit deposed to by Mr Sylva, the ex-minister prayed the court to dismiss the suit.
He said, contrary to Ms Johnson’s deposition, he was eminently qualified to contest the election and did not suffer from any disqualifying factor which barred him from seeking the position.
He averred that he had only served as Bayelsa governor on one occasion.
Besides, Mr Sylva averred that he vied for the APC primary alongside five others, including Ms Johnson, on April 14.
Also, in its counter affidavit deposed to by Stanley Ugboaja, the chief of staff to deputy national organising secretary, the APC asked the court to dismiss the suit.
The party argued that the judgment of the Supreme Court delivered on January 27, 2012, regarding the consolidated appeal, was in support of Mr Sylva’s bid for a second term in office and not against it, as falsely stated by Ms Johnson.