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Supreme Court Dismisses Ex-Gov. Sylva’s Appeal Against Dickson’s Election



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Timipre Sylva, Governor of Bayelsa State. Photo. NEXT

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal brought before it by former Gov. Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa, challenging the election of incumbent Gov. Seriake Dickson.

The apex court also ordered the former governor to pay N500,000 cost to the incumbent governor.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Sylva had in the substantive suit sought to be declared the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the state’s 2012 governorship election.

The appellant had argued at the trial court that he ought to be the party’s governorship candidate in the election, instead of Dickson.

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who read the lead judgment, held that the action of the former governor was an abuse of court process and was tantamount to wasting the time of the court.

“He (Sylva) spent his money obtaining the relevant form and campaigned extensively to resurrect the result of the primaries he won, but which he impliedly agreed and accepted was dead and buried.

“He was not a party to the primaries for the election to which he makes the absurd claim of applying the result of primary, which was abandoned when the election for which it was conducted was cancelled.

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“He is certainly a busy body, an interloper, who had no reasonable ground to believe in the success of this action.

“And he had the temerity to defy the concurrent decisions of the two courts below to continue his abuse of process of court in the apex court.

“The political class may have unlimited funds and time at their disposal, but the court’s time is precious and should not be wasted in pursuit of shadows by any party or person.

“The two issues, having been resolved against the appellant, I find no merit in the appeal, which is hereby dismissed.

“Appellant to pay costs of N500,000 to the 3rd respondent (Dickson),’’ Ogwuta ordered.

NAN recalls that Sylva, had won the PDP primary election conducted in January 2011 ahead of the general elections slated to hold later the same year.

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However, before the election, he got a judgment of a Federal High Court, Yenagoa, extending his tenure, which was later affirmed by the Court of Appeal, which held that his tenure would end on Jan. 28, 2012.

Consequently, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rescheduled the governorship election from end of 2011 to Feb. 2012.

Accordingly, PDP decided to conduct a fresh primary election, for which Sylva bought form, got screened along with other candidates, but was dropped by the party.

Dickson won the election.

Aggrieved by PDP’s decision, Sylva challenged the party up to the Supreme Court.

The court had earlier held that having participated in the process leading to the conduct of the fresh primary, Sylva was deemed to have abandoned his earlier nomination for the cancelled 2011 election.

Not satisfied with the apex court’s judgment, Sylva returned to court to revalidate his earlier nomination for the rescheduled election and urged to be declared winner of the 2012 primary election.

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