The decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja to reverse the nullification of Chief Timipre Sylva’s nomination for the governorship election in November brought about by the All Progressives Congress (APC) has paved the way for Chief Timipre Sylva to participate in the election, which will take place in fewer than 12 days.
In a judgment that was handed down on Tuesday, the court of appeals found that Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court erred when he ordered that Sylva be removed as a candidate for the APC in the election for governor of Bayelsa State on November 11.
Since the plaintiff at the Federal High Court had not taken part in the primary election that determined Sylva to be the candidate representing the APC in the upcoming election, the judgment states that the trial court made an error in assuming jurisdiction over the case.
The reasoning behind this error is that the plaintiff at the Federal High Court did not have the necessary locus standi to initiate the suit in the first place.
The court of appeals emphasized that the question of jurisdiction is of the utmost importance in a case involving an election, and given that the lower court never had any jurisdiction over the subject to begin with, all of the acts that were performed in relation to the case have been found to be invalid.
In addition, the court of appeal ruled that if it is determined that a decision was issued without jurisdiction, it cannot be appealed “regardless of how sound” the judgment may be because doing so “is an exercise in futility.”
After further review, the order of Justice Donatus Okorowo to exclude Sylva from voting in the governorship election on November 11 was overturned and declared invalid by the appellate court.
If this verdict is upheld, then the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be required to relist Sylva as a candidate for the APC in the governorship race in Bayelsa State.
After delivering the leading judgment, Justice Binta Zubairu subsequently ruled that Sylva would be entitled to a cost of N1 million in her favor.
More details later…
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