In a landmark judgment delivered on Monday, Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled to disqualify Chief Timipre Sylva, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, for the upcoming governorship election in Bayelsa State. The judge’s decision was based on constitutional grounds, asserting that Sylva’s candidacy would violate the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Justice Okorowo highlighted Chief Sylva’s previous terms as governor, stating that being sworn in twice and ruling for a total of five years raised constitutional concerns. According to the judge, allowing Sylva to contest again would surpass the constitutional limit on the number of terms a candidate can serve as governor.
Drawing on the precedent set by the Supreme Court in the case of Marwa vs. Nyako, Justice Okorowo emphasized the constitutional provision that prohibits individuals from being elected governor more than twice. He pointed out that both parties in the case acknowledged Sylva’s previous two terms in office, and the Supreme Court has consistently ruled against attempts to expand the constitutional limits on term durations.
The judge, in the suit filed by Deme Kolomo (APC member) with the number FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023 on June 13, 2023, concluded that Chief Timipre Sylva was not qualified to run in the November governorship election in Bayelsa State.