By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos
Barely 24 hours after a Federal High Court, Abuja, disqualified Sylva from participating in the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) candidate in the election, Timipre Sylva, has asked the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, to set aside the judgment.
Apart from the notice of appeal, Sylva, through his lawyer, Ahmed Raji, SAN, also filed a stay of execution of the judgment.
Shortly after the appeal was filed, Raji stated that the high court judgment was against settled principles of law and notable precedents and that the chances of success at the Appeal Court were very high.
He said the appeal raises three fundamental issues touching on jurisdiction, locus standi and wrongful evaluation of affidavit evidence.
In a judgment delivered on Monday, October 9, Justice Donatus Okorowo of the High Court disqualified the APC candidate on the ground that Sylva has been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as governor of Bayelsa State.
According to the court, standing for another election as governor would breach the 1999 Constitution as amended.
In the motion on notice, dated October 10, 2023, praying the court to stay execution of the judgment, Sylva, through his Counsel, Raji, SAN, prayed the court for an order of the court staying execution and/or further execution of the entire judgment and the orders contained in the judgment of the Court, delivered on the 9th October 2023, pending the hearing and final determination of the appeal lodged against the judgment and orders of this Court before the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
He also prayed to the court for an injunction, restraining the respondents from implementing and/or giving effect to the Declaratory and Executory Orders contained in the Judgment.
In the appeal, also dated October 10, 2023, Sylva, a former governor of the state and the immediate past minister of state for petroleum resources, raised three grounds of appeal.
According to him, Justice Okorowo in his judgment, wrongly assumed jurisdiction by delving into the internal affairs of his party, APC, which is a non-justiciable cause of action and thereby occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice.
He said the trial court must understand the case presented by the parties and apply the law correctly.
In ground two, the former governor said Justice Okorowo erred in law when he wrongly conferred, allowed and adjudicated on the matter when the respondent had no locus standing to initiate or institute the action having confessed not to have participated in the primary election that produced him as the governorship candidate of the APC, thereby occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice against him.
He said the court failed to properly evaluate, determine and pronounce on his notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the suit and thereby breached his right to a fair hearing as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the appeal.