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BAYELSA POLL: Federal High Court dismisses suit seeking Timipre Sylva’s disqualification

Money Laundering Allegation: US Court Vindicates Petroleum Minister, Timipre Sylva

Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking disqualification of former Petroleum Resources Minister, Timipre Sylva from contesting the November governorship election in Bayelsa State.

The suit instituted against the All Progressive Congress (APC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Sylvia was thrown out for want of merit.

In a judgment on Tuesday, Ekwo held that the plaintiff, Hon Isikima Ogbomade Johnson, failed to establish issues raised in the suit to warrant the disqualification of Sylva from the governorship poll.

Among others, the judge held that the plaintiff failed to establish the allegation that the APC did not conduct a lawful primary election that produced Sylva.

He said from the uncontroverted independent report of INEC, it was clear beyond any doubt that a valid primary election was conducted by APC and monitored by the electoral umpire as required by law.

The judge dismissed police reports tendered by the plaintiff, which claimed that APC did not conduct a primary election.

Ekwo said the purported police reports were worthless and products of illegality because police were not mandated by any provisions of law to do what they did in favour of the plaintiff.

The judge, among others, faulted the police reports for not being on police letterhead papers to give it semblance of originality while he also said that the duty of police at primary elections is to give protection and safety to election materials and voters.

Besides, Justice Ekwo held that most of the documents brought by the plaintiff were done through the back doors in disregard to the well-known, established procedures.

Also, the court rejected the suit because it was not instituted within 14 days the subject matter occurred; hence, it became an academic matter, adding that since the court is not an academic institution, it would not dabble into such a matter.

“In all, I find the case of the plaintiff to be weak, having not been established by preponderance of evidence as required by law.

“In the same vein, the case of the plaintiff, having been demolished by overwhelming exhibits tendered by APC and Timipire Sylva, has no legs to stand upon in the face of the law.

“I make an order, dismissing this case and it is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit,” the Judge held.

The plaintiff had, by an originating summons, dragged APC, INEC and Sylva before the court, praying for an order to disqualify him from being allowed to participate in the coming November governorship election in Bayelsa State.

He predicated his grouse against Sylvia on two grounds Sylva had been elected into governorship office twice and took the oath of office and oath of allegiance twice. At the same time, he also claimed that the April 14 primary election that produced Sylva was illegal and unlawful, having been allegedly done in contravention with APC’s guidelines.

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