By Peters Monday, Abuja
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has reversed the nullification of the candidacy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November governorship election, Chief Timipre Sylva, thus clearing the coast for his participation in less than 12 days to the poll.
However, the appellate court in a judgment delivered on Tuesday held that Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court was wrong in ordering the sack of Sylva as a candidate of the APC in the November 11, governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The Appeal Court held that the trial court erred by assuming jurisdiction in the matter on grounds that the plaintiff at the Federal High Court lacked the necessary locus standi to initiate the suit in the first place, having not participated in the primary election that produced Sylva as the flag bearer of the APC in the forthcoming election.
The appellate judge explained that the issue of jurisdiction is fundamental in an election matter, and since the lower court had no jurisdiction in the first place, all actions taken in the matter are declared a nullity.
The appellate court in addition stated that once a judgment is found to have been delivered without jurisdiction, “no matter how sound” it may be, “it is an exercise in futility”.
The appellate court subsequently voided the decision of Justice Donatus Okorowo, which nullified Sylva’s participation in the November 11, governorship election.
By this judgment, INEC would have to relist Sylva as a candidate of the APC for the governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Justice Binta Zubairu, who delivered the lead judgment subsequently slammed a cost of N1 million in favour of Sylva.