The December 5 governorship election in Bayelsa state has continued to generate more heated confrontations between the two leading parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Following reports that the ruling party in the state has approached the Federal High Court to institute legal action against the APC candidate, Timipre Sylva, seeking his disqualification, the Sylva/ Igiri campaign organization has fired back at the ruling party in the state.
In the suit, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson & ANOR Vs Chief Timipre Sylva & Ors obtained on Friday, November 6, the plaintiffs, the PDP are asking the court to determine whether Sylva is qualified to contest as a candidate in the light of the provisions of Section 182 (1) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
The PDP noted that Section 182 (1) (b) states that no person shall be qualified for election to the office of governor of a state if “he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections.”
According to Chief Serena Dokubo Spiff, the acting state chairman of the PDP, legal action by the party is aimed at checking what it regarded as “recourse to impunity and disregard to law and order.”
He added that the issue was not a plot against Timipre Sylva but the need to operate in accordance with the rule of law.
However in a swift response, Chief Nathan Egba, the director of media and publicity of the Sylva campaign, said the PDP’s resort to the ourt to disqualify Sylva is a clear indication that PDP is frightened at the popularity of Sylva and the thought of meeting him at the poll.
Egba said: “We see this as the latest of the desperate attempts by Gov. Seriake Dickson and his party to avoid meeting Chief Timipre Sylva at the polls.
“Resorting to the Courts for help will not work in this particular matter because even as a lay man, one can say this case is clearly an attempt to divert the attention of the Sylva-Igiri Campaign from the focusing on the job at hand, that is working for their removal from office democratically.
“Our lawyers are studying the case but we do know that a properly constituted court in 2008 declared his earlier election null and void. This therefore implies that even the oath of office he took which they’re referring to is automatically null and void.
“It is a big shame that in their desperation, the PDP and indeed Gov. Seriake Dickson would be embarking on such an exercise that is doomed to fail from the beginning as the issues they’re can- vassing are already settled matters. Their Lawyers only need to refer to the several rulings regarding the eligibility or otherwise of former president Jonathan to know the likely outcome of this case.”
This is not the best of times for the main opposition party in the state as 1000 youths have defected to the PDP in Southern Ijaw local government area.
Receiving the defectors at the Government House banquet hall over the weekend, Governor Seriake Dickson commended the leader, Okili Matthew for leading his team to take the bold decision to leave the APC and renamed the group as the Patriotic Bayelsa Youth Forum.
“We urge you all to be ready for the task ahead as there will be adequate security during the election so don’t be intimidated by any threats from the APC.
“This election is about Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC). Sensitize your members, friends and colleagues about the adequate security measures at all the polling units before, during and after elections. The era of ballot stuffing and snatching is a thing of the past. Don’t be intimidated by the APC threats.
“The era of monkey dey work, baboon dey chop is gone for good. That is why we will be meeting with you after our victory to say a proper thank you.”
Southern Ijaw local government area has the highest number of voters in Bayelsa state and is the home council of the Elder Wilberforce Igiri, the APC deputy governorship candidate, and Chief Tiwei Timipa Orunimighe, the state APC chairman.