Supreme Court dismisses Sylva's appeal against Dickson's election

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The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal by former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva seeking an order declaring him as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2012  governorship election in the state.
In a unanimous judgment by a five-man panel, in dismissing the appeal, awarded N500,000 cost against Sylva, to be paid to Dickson (3rd respondent).
‎Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who read the lead judgement on Friday, came down hard on the former governor for wasting the time of the court.
The court resolved the two issues raised for determination against the appellant.
Sylva had, by the appeal, argued that he ought to represent the party in the last governorship in Bayelsa State and not the incumbent governor, Seriake Dickson.
Sylva (then a serving governor) had won the primary election conducted by the party in January 2011 in anticipation that the governorship election will hold later that year.
Before the election, for which he (Sylva) was to stand as the party’s  candidate, could be held, Sylva got a judgment of a Federal High Court, Yenagoa, extending his tenure. The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment and held that Sylva’s tenure would end on January 28, 2012.
In view of the development, Independent National Electoral Commission  rescheduled the governorship election for February 2012.
The PDP was prompted to conduct a fresh primary, for which Sylva bought form, got screened along with other candidates, but was dropped by the party.
The primary was won by the incumbent governor, Henry Seriake Dickson.
Sylva challenged the party’s decision to drop him. The case got to the Supreme Court, which held that Sylva, having participated in the process leading to the conduct of the fresh primary (by buying form and submitting himself for screening), he is deemed to have abandoned his earlier nomination for the 2011 planned election that was cancelled.
Not satisfied, Sylva, represented by Robert Clarke (SAN),  returned to court in an attempt to validate his earlier nomination for the election that was rescheduled, and to claim the benefits of the victory recorded in the election held in 2012 by the PDP.
Justice Ngwuta, in the judgment on Friday, noted that the election for which the appellant won the primary was cancelled outright. And that, in appreciation of the fact that the election for which he was nominated was rescheduled, Sylva prepared himself for other primaries to be held in place of the one cancelled.
“He (Sylva) spent his money obtaining the relevant form and campaigned extensively and 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.
“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),” Ngwuta held.
Justices Muhammad Muntaka-Coomassie, Suleiman Galadima, John Okoro and Chime Nweze, who were on the panel that heard the appeal, agreed with the lead judgment.

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