Bayelsa Governorship Primary Election Latest: PDP Heads For Appeal Court to Stop Timipre Sylva's Suit

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, to stop further hearing on the ex-parte application filed last week by the Bayelsa State Governor Timipre Sylva at the Federal High Court before Justice Gabriel Kolawole.

The party, through its National Legal Adviser, Chief Olusola Oke, is asking the appellate court for an order staying further proceedings in the suit brought by Sylva with suit number FHC/ABJ/931/ 2011 (Timipre Sylva vs INEC and others) pending the hearing and determination of the appeal filed against the decision of the Federal High Court. No date has been fixed for hearing of the appeal.

In the same vein, winner of the governorship primary in the state, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to be joined as a party in the existing court matter. Dickson approached the court with an application to join him as a defendant in the suit filed by Sylva. He said having won last Saturday’s primary election, he stands to be affected by the decision of the court on the matter.

Buttressing order 9, rule 5 of the Federal High Court civil procedure rules, Dickson in his application is praying the court to grant an order that all the processes filed by all the parties be served on him. 

Sylva had approached the court last Wednesday with an ex-parte application seeking to restrain the PDP, its agents, servants, privies, officers or otherwise from going ahead with last Saturday’s primary election. Sylva had also urged the court to stop the PDP from forwarding names of any candidate from the exercise to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has said the PDP took the right decisions and also followed due process in organising last weekend’s primary election in the state that through up Dickson as the party’s candidate for the February 11, 2012 governorship election in the state. Jonathan stated this when the Acting National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, led members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to felicitate with the president on his 54th birthday.

Jonathan commended the party for not allowing anybody to influence it, adding that once officers of the party continue to tow the line of constitutionalism, they will lead the party to greater heights. "I want to use this opportunity to commend you for what you have been doing. It is a phase in Nigerian history; this government will be like transitional phase in Nigerian history.

"It is always difficult for people to appreciate things. I notice that in Nigerian political environment, people feel that a leader of the party must always influence the decision of the party. So, influencing the decision of the party now becomes a norm. You made reference to the election; I always say my state, Bayelsa, has always been a PDP state from 1999. "I commend the party, continue to follow due process; don't be intimidated by anybody as long as you are on the right course. And I believe PDP will lead the country to where Nigerians want it to be,” he told the NWC members.

The president said he was currently concerned with how to build a robust economy for the country and make it productive so that the teeming youths would have jobs to do which would in turn spread wealth which would ensure improved standard of living for all. He also deplored a situation where Nigeria, with a population of over 160 million, depend on imported food whereas it has vast arable land that is “so fertile” that anything grows on it.

He said his administration would re-engineer agriculture as well as do all within his power to reverse the import dependent status of the country by making it produce what it has. Earlier, Baraje, who had presented a birthday card to Jonathan on behalf of the party, said the PDP was proud for introducing a culture of non-interference in the activities of the party and other arms of government for which he said they were proud of.

Responding to questions from State House Correspondents after the visit, Baraje said the issue of what happened in Bayelsa State was an internal affair of the party and insisted that the PDP had told Governor Sylva why he was not given a second term ticket and challenged him to unveil it to the public “since he already knows”.

He denied that there was a court injunction restraining the party from conducting the primary election, adding that the exercise was credible and transparent and signposts what they intend to do with similar exercises in the future. “There was no injunction, what the party had was a motion on notice. It was not an order to stop anything, it was a motion on notice asking the party why certain prayers in that court papers should not be granted by the court and that we should show reasons.

“We were able to show reasons why we should go ahead. It was not an injunction, it was not an order, it was not anything stopping our party; we are due process party.  If the order had come and say stop, and we will stop, but that order was not to stop us. We have also filed our papers,” he explained.

Asked why the party did not clear Sylva to contest, he replied: “It is an internal affair of the party. If the governor wants to make it public, he can make it public. If he is saying the party has not told him what he has done, it means he doesn't want to make it public and the party is not interested in making it public. All I know is that in accordance with the law, the party has the right to present whoever is convenient to the party and that is what we have done.”

Baraje said there were processes to follow within the party before going to court by members, but assured party members of their preparedness to answer those who decide to flout the rules and guidelines as enshrined in the constitution of the party, adding that all was well within their fold.

In Yenagoa, the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Bayelsa State chapter, has protested the one week compulsory public holidays declared at the weekend by the state government and said the action was unnecessary and that it would be counter productive. The state chairman of NUT, Mr. Christopher Erewari, described the action as rash and unwarranted. He added that the state ministry of education was “absolutely” wrong to have declared public holidays without due consultations with the stakeholders.

He said the NUT was particularly worried by the action because the decision, according to him, lacks “cogent reasons”. Erewari, who incidentally was Sylva’s teacher in primary school, maintained that: “The decision is too hasty, more so when justifiable reasons were not advanced by the state government for declaring such number of days as public holiday.” The weekend decision of the state government caught a lot people unawares; a situation the NUT boss said arrangements had been concluded to hold a meeting with the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Tuemi Azuka, with a view to ascertaining the motive behind the public holiday.

Following the political tension created by the PDP decision to exclude Sylva from the party’s governorship primary election last Saturday and the heavy presence of troops on the streets of Yenagoa, even after the election, the government declared a one week public holiday for all primary and secondary schools in the state.

Checks on the schools within Yenagoa metropolis found all of them under lock and key. Security situation in the capital is still precarious, as stern-looking security operatives have taken over all roads and streets in the city. They were, however, very cautious even as no case of harassment has been levelled against them

Source: ThisDayLive