Peters Monday, Abuja
Pandemonium as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) dropped the name of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva from the list of candidates for the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Congress gathered that the updated list uploaded on the INEC website on Tuesday, the name of Sylva and his running mate, Joshua Maciver were delisted.
However, the updated list which also included the candidates for the Imo election had the column for the names of the APC candidate and his ruining mate left blank with “court order” remarks on it.
The updated list was signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Rose Oriaran-Anthony.
Congress had earlier reported that the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Oct. 10, disqualified Sylva from participating in the November 11 Bayelsa state governorship election.
Justice Donatus Okorowo, in the judgment, ruled that Sylva having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as governor of Bayelsa would breach the 1999 constitution as amended if allowed to contest again as he would have inadvertently spent more than eight years in office as governor of the state if he wins the 2023 election.
Also for Imo, INEC included the names of Uchechukwu Ishiodu as the governorship candidate and Ahumbe Chiazor as the running mate, for the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).
Explaining the need for the amended list, Oriaran-Anthony, said after the commission published the final list of candidates for the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election on June 9 in accordance with the provision of Section 32 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Election, it was served with an order of court in respect of the nomination of candidate of the APC for Bayelsa governorship election.
By virtue of the provision of Section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the Commission is bound to enforce the orders of the court on the nomination of candidates by political parties in the state.
“The Amended list of candidates in respect of the 2023 Bayelsa State governorship election is hereby amended pursuant to the orders of court served on the commission,” Oriaran-Anthony noted.
On why INEC also had to include PRP and its candidates on the amended list for the Imo governorship election, Oriaran-Anthony said the decision of the electoral body was based on a court order.
“After the said publication, the Commission was served with an Order of Court for the inclusion of the PRP and its candidate on the list of candidates for the 2023 Imo State governorship election.
“By virtue of the provision of Section 287 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the commission is bound to enforce the orders of the court on the nomination of candidates by political parties in the State.
“The Amended list of candidates in respect of the 2023 Imo State Governorship election is hereby amended pursuant to the Orders of the Court served on the Commission,” she said.
Recall that the Federal High Court, Owerri judicial division in Suit No. FHC/OW/CS/35/2023 – PRP & Anor v. INEC, amongst others, ordered INEC to include the name of the PRP governorship candidate in the list of nominated candidates already published on the INEC website.