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Bayelsa Poll: APC Chieftain Prays Court to Stop Sylva from Contesting

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Chief Demesuoyefa Kolomo, a member of the APC, has prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to delete the name of Timipre Sylva, former Minister of State for Petroleum, from list of candidates contesting the Nov.

11 governorship election in Bayelsa.

Kolomo told Justice Donatus Okorowo of a Federal High Court, Abuja in a suit filed by his lawyer, Prof.

Abiodun Amuda-Kannike, SAN.

In the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023 dated and filed June 13, Kolomo had sued Mr Sylva, APC and INEC as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.

He sought two questions for determination.

These include whether having regard to the indisputable facts that Sylva was elected to the office of governor of Bayeisa on two previous occasions; April 14, 2007, and May 24, 2008, he was qualified to contest the Nov. 11 election in view of Section 82 (1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“Whether having regard to the indisputable fact that Sylva occupied the office of governor of Bayelsa May 29, 2007 to April 15, 2008 and May 27, 2008 to Jan. 27, 2012, he is qualified to contest and be elected to the office of governor of Bayelsa for another four years term in view of Section 180(2)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Kolomo, therefore, sought a declaration that by virtue of Section 182(1)\(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Sylva was not qualified to contest the election to the office of the governor of Bayelsa on APC’s platform or on any other political party’s platform in the election scheduled for sometime in November or any other time for that matter.

He also sought an order directing INEC to remove Sylva’s name from the list of the contestants into the office of the governor of Bayelsa on APC’s platform or any other political party’s platform in the Nov. 11 poll or any other time for that matter as he was not qualified to contest the said poll.

In the affidavit attached, Kolomo deposed that besides being an APC member, he was also a registered voter in the state.

He averred that the ex-minister was first elected to the office of governor, Bayelsa on April 14, 2007 and assumed the said office on May 29, 2007, and was in the said office until April 15, 2008 when his election on April 14, 2007, was set aside by the Court of Appeal and he was consequently removed from office.

He said Sylva was reelected on May 24, 2008, and assumed office as governor on May 27, 2008 until January 27, 2012.

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.

When the matter came up for mention, Amuda-Kannike informed the court that APC and INEC had been served while the bailif was unable to serve Sylva.

“We therefore filed a motion for substituted service,” the lawyer said.

He said the motion, dated June 19 and filed same date, was brought pursuant to Order 6, Rule 5 of the court.

Justice Okorowo, who granted the application, adjourned the matter until June 26 for hearing.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sylva served as Bayelsa governor on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s platform.

The former minister had, in 2006, joined the PDP governorship primaries challenging ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, who at that time, was vying for same position

However, after Sylva emerged the PDP candidate, he went on to win the election in 2007 and succeeded Jonathan, who had also become the Vice President to late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

But Sylva’s opponent in the 2007 election, Ebitimi Amgbare of the defunct Action Congress (AC), challenged his victory.

While the Bayelsa State Election Petitions Tribunal upheld Sylva’s election, Amgbare took the matter to the Appeal Court, Port Harcourt in Rivers which upturned the tribunal’s decision and nullified Sylva’s election on April 15, 2008.

The five justices of the Court of Appeal were unanimous in their decision and ordered that Speaker Werinipre Seibarugo be sworn in to replace Sylva as acting governor, with a new election to be held within 90 days as stated in the Electoral Act.

When a new election was held on May 24, 2008, Sylva was again overwhelmingly elected with 588,204 out of about 598,000 votes and was sworn in.

But on Jan. 27, 2012, his tenure was terminated by the Supreme Court, with an acting governor appointed to oversee the state until the election of February 2012, won by Seriake Dickson.(NAN)

POLITICS

Edo Primaries: Court Orders PDP to Show Cause why 381 Delegates Should be Excluded

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to show cause why 381 delegates elected on Feb. 4 at its ward congress should not participate in the primary scheduled for Thursday.

Justice Inyang Ekwo made the order in a ruling on the ex-parte motion moved by the plaintiffs’ counsel, Adaze Emwanta.

Justice Ekwo thereafter ordered that the defendants be served with all the court processes within two days of the order.

Reports says that three aggrieved ad-hoc delegates, on behalf of the 378 others, had sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PDP, its national secretary and the vice chairman, south south as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

In the ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/165/2024 dated Feb. 7 but filed Feb 8, the plaintiffs sought for two orders

These include an order for the defendants or their agents not to act but to show cause why the reliefs of the plaintiffs in their originating summons should not be granted with regard to the plan of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to exclude them and 378 other delegates, whose names and election results are contained in “Exhibits BID 8A to 8L,” from participating in the primaries.of Feb. 22 in Edo.

The plaintiffs, which include Hon Kelvin Mohammed, Mr Gabriel Okoduwa and Mr Ederaho Osagie, on behalf of others in 12 local government areas and 127 wards, averred that it would be in the interest of justice for their reliefs to be granted.

Upon resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel for the plaintiffs, Emwanta, told the court that all efforts to effect the service on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants were unsuccessful.

He said though INEC was served on Monday, the other three defendants evaded service.

He, therefore, said that a motion for substituted service on the PDP and others had been filed.

He said a party seeking to be joined in the suit also served their application on him earlier in the day.

The lawyer said since there was no opposition to their motion for substituted service, he moved in terms of the application.

He said their sole prayer was to serve them by pasting the processes at the PDP headquarters.

Justice Ekwo, who granted the application, ordered that the service be effected within two days.

The judge then asked INEC’s lawyer, Hassan Aminu, if they had filed any application but he responded in the negative.

He said though they were served on Feb. 20, they did not file any process because “we have no issue with the order.”

The judge adjourned the matter until Feb. 28 for the PDP, its national secretary and vice chairman (south south) to show cause why the reliefs should not be granted.(NAN)

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POLITICS

Senate Pushes for Nigerian Medical Graduands from Ukraine, Sudan to Sit for July, Nov MDCN Exams

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The senate has called out the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to allow Nigerian medical graduates from Ukraine and Sudan to sit for the MDCN exams in July and Nov without any discrimination, particularly those that the wars in both countries did not affect their academic activities.

The upper chamber also urged MDCN to in no distant time, work toward the conduct of the MDCN exams in each geo-political zone of the country like the Law Schools, to reduce the cost on the students and their parents.

The senate resolutions followed the adoption of a motion at plenary yesterday which was sponsored by Senator Oyewumi Olaler from Osun state titled: “Discrimination Against Medical Graduands from Ukraine by the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council.

In his lead debate, senator Olalere said that the issue of medical graduates from Ukraine universities has drawn attention of National Assembly since 2022, pointing out that in 2023, the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Health concluded with the Medical and Dental Council to allow the students that graduated from medical schools in Ukraine to participate in the qualifying exams like other students, or at best, organise a makeup programme for them before the exam.

The senator noted that MDCN has slated a referral programme for the 2022 graduates alone at Federal Medical Centre Gwagwalada at the cost of N1.5 million per student to be paid in one and half weeks.

He said the concerned parents of the affected students had visited the National Assembly complex to lodge their complaint during the vacation of the Senate for extension of the deadline for payment to one month from one and half week.

Olalere, who is the Senate Deputy Minority leader, said the war in Ukraine affected the eastern part of Ukraine and Kyiv, the capital, adding that the entire western Ukraine was not affected.

According to him, the students were on campus doing their programme unhindered as confirmed by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria.

He explained that since the war in Ukraine did not affect all the universities, especially, students in Western parts of Ukraine, students who graduated from those universities in 2023 should be allowed to sit for MDCN exams henceforth without any hindrance.

Other senators who supported the motion included Senators; Adamu Aliero, from Kebbi state Abdul Ningi from Bauchi state among others.

In a related development, the senate also urged the Committee of Nigerian Vice Chancellors to allow Nigerian students arriving from war torn countries to be admitted into Nigerian universities to complete their studies.

President of Senate Godswill Akpiabio in his remarks thanked the sponsor of the motion, saying that it was a popular motion and elicited comments from the lawmakers.

He expressed belief that the resolutions of the senate would be adhered to by MDCN and the Vice Chancellors to ameliorate the sufferings of concerned Nigerian medical graduates from the war affected nations.

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POLITICS

Edo Election: PDP Approves Delegates List

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By Johnson Eyiangho, Abuja

National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has approved the delegates list for the Edo State Governorship Election Primary to nominate a candidate for the Sept. 21 governorship election in the state.

It has also approved the conduct of the Edo State Governorship Election Primary for Thursday, Feb.

22 at the Lawn Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.

The NWC in a statement by the PDP’s Spokesman, Hon.

Debo Ologunagba yesterday charged all delegates, aspirants, leaders, critical stakeholders, members of the party and the public to note the official date and venue and be guided accordingly.

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