A former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timi Sylva, has said that it is not the job of the Independent National Electoral Commission to interpret court judgements.
Sylva said hence it is out of place for INEC to bar him from the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State by its guideline that only candidates who emerged after the April 15, 2011 Court of Appeal judgement on the elongation of tenure of governors can stand for the fresh gubernatorial election.
Sylva was reacting to the position of the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Monday that the commission would not recognize any party primaries held before the judgement of the Court of Appeal that elongated the tenure of Sylva; former Governor Ibrahim Idris of Kogi State; former Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State; former Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State; and former Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State.
Sylva had after Friday’s Supreme Court judgement terminating his tenure and those of the four other governors who were granted extension of their tenure by the Court of Appeal, said that he remained the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the fresh gubernatorial election.
This was based on the fact that he won the party’s first primaries held in January 2011.
But with Jega’s position yesterday, Sylva appears shut out from the election as the PDP has held a second primaries in which the former governor was excluded.
Dickson Serieke won the fresh primaries.
In a statement signed on his behalf by his Chief Press Secretary, Doifie Ola, Sylva said: “The attention of Chief Timipre Sylva has been drawn to a statement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) saying that only candidates who emerged after the Court of Appeal judgement of 15 April 2011 are recognised for the Bayelsa State Governorship election fixed for 11 February 2012.
“Sylva believes that under our laws, it is not the place of INEC to interpret any court judgement. More importantly, Sylva disagrees completely with this interpretation of the Supreme Court judgement. He does not regard the INEC position as final.
“For him, the Supreme Court is better placed to resolve the matter of the proper candidate for the PDP in the Bayelsa State governorship election.
“Only on Monday, the Supreme Court granted Sylva leave to validate his candidacy in the election, as his cross appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling and application for accelerated hearing received the apex court’s nod.
“Sylva urges his supporters to remain confident and hopeful that at the end of the day, justice will be done.”