Bayelsa Governorship Election Latest: Timipre Sylva Faults PDP's Submission Of Henry Dickson's Name To INEC

Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State Sunday described the submission of the name of Hon. Henry Dickson by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its gubernatorial candidate for the February 11, 2012 as a charade.

This came as INEC said it had no constitutional right to reject Dickson as PDP governorship nominee for the next year election, stating that there was no court injunction stopping the commission from doing otherwise.

A statement signed by Sylva’s Chief Press Secretary,  Doifie Ola, said the PDP’s decision to submit the name of Dickson to INEC did not in anyway change his commitment to the governorship race and the reality that the PDP was engaged in a charade, whose product would not be able to stand the test of time.

According to the statement, “This unfortunate decision of the Party is condemnable in every democratic sense. But it is all part of a serial illegality that began since preparation for the governorship election in the state gathered momentum and reached a frightening height with November 19 primary held against the order of a competent court of law.”

Sylva further faulted the submission of Dickson’s name to INEC, saying, “wise counsel of a wide segment of civilised humanity within and outside Nigeria, and also despite the absence of INEC, the body statutorily mandated to monitor and confer legitimacy on such exercises, has contributed in making the submission charade.

“Men of conscience within and outside our shores have since risen in condemnation of the absurdly pointless act of November 19 in Yenagoa and it is only natural that anything emanating from that process cannot stand. Nothing has changed from this truth, he said.

Accordingly, the embattled governor said: “As for me and my able deputy, Rt. Hon. Werinipre Seibarugu, we remain committed to the February 2012 governorship contest in Bayelsa State under our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). We are confident that the truth will emerge at the end of the day, and by the grace of God and the will of the people, we will be re-elected,” he said.

But INEC in a reaction through Chief Press Secretary to the commission chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said INEC was not aware of any court order, but a motion in court. According to Idowu, “INEC is not aware of any court order.   Apart from that, there is a subsisting provision in the Electoral Act 2011 as amended which says that INEC shall not reject the names of nominees from the political parties.”

“The regrettable misadventure of PDP does not change the fact that we are in court challenging the illegal conduct of PDP in the Bayelsa State governorship race and it is only the court that will have the final say in the matter. “Those trying to plant the seed of illegality at INEC must realize that Nigeria is a country governed under laws and PDP, the biggest political party in the country, cannot afford to be a lawless fiefdom within the democracy”, the embattled governor said.

He appealed to his supporters in Bayelsa State and beyond, and all lovers of democracy, to remain calm and positive, saying, “We are confident in the ability of the judiciary to return sanity to the political situation in our state, so that together again we shall continue the patriotic task of taking our state to the next level.” “Persons who seek to benefit from the democratic space should not be afraid to submit their whims and atavistic instincts to the democratic crucible of the law. The resort to impunity cannot stand”, he stated.

Sylva questioned the basis on which INEC could accept a candidate from the 19 November primary in Bayelsa State, saying, “Even though INEC has not announced a shift in its well advised rejection of the November 19 charade, it is only instructive to warn that INEC, a critical institutional bulwark against political arbitrariness, must resist the temptation to be drawn into the mucky waters of autocratic partisanship, which those who nurse a morbid fear for democracy and free choice have reduced the Bayelsa governorship race to.”

When reminded about a court order, Kayode Idowu said, “Is there any court order, we are aware of a motion in court and not of any court injunction.”