Mr Sylva also asked the court to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] from receiving a new list of nominees since his name had been submitted on January 12, 2011 and he is “not dead” as stipulated in section 33 of the Electoral Act.
The injunction notwithstanding the party carried on with the presentation of clearance certificate the seven successful aspirants for the governorship primaries.
Previously, Sylva had written to INEC through his lawyer Femi Falana, asking Professor Attahiru Jega to stop the primary elections in the state.
He said a fresh primary election will amount to substituting his name, which is against the provision of the Electoral Act.
In his letter to INEC, entitled: “Re: Decision of the People’s Democratic Party to conduct fresh governorship primaries in Bayelsa State”, Falana said:
“Our client is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State and currently the Governor of Bayelsa State on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party.
“Following the publication of the Time Table of Activities for 2011 General Elections by your Commission, the Peoples Democratic Party duly set in motion the machinery for the conduct of governorship primaries in Bayelsa State to nominate its candidate for the Governorship election in Bayelsa State that were scheduled to be held in April, 2011.
“The governorship primaries were duly held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on 9th January, 2011 and at the end of the exercise (which was observed by officials of your Commission), our client emerged the winner, having scored majority of the valid votes cast. We attach herewith Result of the Gubernatorial Primary Election and the Report of the Electoral Panel for Gubernatorial Primary in Bayelsa State dated the 10th January, 2011 as ANNEXURE “AA” and “BB” respectively for reference purposes.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) consequently submitted the name of our client to your Commission vide a letter dated January 24, 2011 but received on January 27, 2011 as its governorship candidate in Bayelsa State as required by Section 31(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). Attached herewith as ANNEXURE “CC” is a copy of the said letter.
“The Governorship election was scheduled to hold on 15th April, 2011 by your Commission. However, your Commission later postponed the conduct of the election to a later date following the judgment of Federal High Court, Abuja Division delivered on 23rd February, 2011 in the case of CHIEF TIMIPRE SYLVA & 6 OTHERS v. INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION & 2 OTHERS which decision was later upheld by the Court of Appeal.
“Recently, your Commission announced that it would conduct the governorship election in Bayelsa State in February, 2012. Our client has since started campaigning for votes throughout the nooks and crannies of Bayelsa State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the governorship election. Your Commission did not call for fresh nomination of candidates by the political parties.
“However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has published a paid advert in the national dailies of its intention to conduct a fresh governorship primaries in Bayelsa State and has even gone ahead to schedule 19th November, 2011 for the fresh primaries despite the protest from our client whose nomination has been forwarded to your Commission as the party’s candidate for the governorship election.
“We wish to state, without any fear of contradiction, that our client has not withdrawn his candidature to contest the governorship election in Bayelsa State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
As you are no doubt aware, the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) are now very clear that once a political party has submitted the name of a candidate to your Commission for a particular elective office, the political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute the name of that candidate. Section 33 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provides as follows:
“A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted pursuant to Section 32 of this Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate.”
“By scheduling to conduct a fresh governorship primary in Bayelsa State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is about to change or substitute the name of our client as its candidate for the governorship election.
“It is against the backdrop of the above that we urge you to use your good offices as recognised by Section 86 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) to direct the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to conduct a fresh governorship primary in Bayelsa State as same will amount to a contravention of the provisions of the Electoral Act.”
Governor Silva alongside four other aspirants was disqualified by the PDP from contesting on the party’s platform for the Bayelsa state governorship ticket