A Federal Capital Territory high court sitting in Abuja has fixed January 12, 2016 for hearing in a suit challenging the eligibility of a former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipreye Sylva, to contest the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
Mr. Sylva is the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, for the December 5 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The Bayelsa governor, Seriake Dickson, and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, filed the suit seeking to disqualify Mr. Sylva from participating in the election.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that Mr. Sylva was not qualified to contest the election because he had been elected twice and had taken oath of office twice as governor of the state.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, counsel to the plaintiffs, Friday Nwosu, said that Mr. Sylva had previously been elected twice as governor of Bayelsa in 2007 and 2008.
“The 2007 election was nullified by the Court Of Appeal and Sylva contested and won the re-run election, whereupon he was elected the second time and served for about a cumulative period of four years and seven months as the governor of the state.
“He now seeks to be elected a third time as governor of Bayelsa state in the said forthcoming elections.
“This is against the relevant constitutional provision in section 182 (1) (b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
“The section states that ‘no person shall be qualified for election to the office of governor of a state if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections,'” Mr. Nwosu said.
Counsel to the defendants, Akeem Afolabi, said they had filed a preliminary objection challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the FCT High Court to hear the case.
Mr. Afolabi said it was either the Bayelsa High Court or the Federal High Court had the jurisdiction to entertain a case related to the office of governor of Bayelsa.
Justice Mukhtar Dodo then ordered the lawyers to serve all the processes in the case on parties to the suit.
He adjourned till January 12, 2016 for continuation of hearing.
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