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In the run-up to the Bayelsa State governorship election scheduled for November 11, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Chief Timpre Sylva, and running mate Joshua Maciver may face disqualification
The potential disqualification follows a lawsuit filed by the Trustfield Empowerment Initiative against the APC candidates and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The lawsuit argues that Maciver, who is currently serving a criminal sentence, is not eligible to run for office.
According to the plaintiff, sections of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria stipulate that anyone serving a criminal jail term without a Presidential Pardon cannot be recognized or listed by INEC as a candidate, which Maciver’s current situation falls under.
The Trustfield Empowerment Initiative insists that, given Maciver’s conviction, he cannot legally serve as Sylva’s running mate in the upcoming election.
Thus, they argue that Sylva doesn’t have a valid running mate for the election.
They also claim that the recognition of Maciver as a candidate violates the 1999 Constitution and are seeking a permanent injunction from the Federal High Court in Abuja to prevent INEC from recognizing Sylva and Maciver’s candidacy.
Meanwhile, the plaintiff said, “The provisions of Sections 175(1), 182(1)(d) & (2)(c) and 187(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly stated that anybody having been convicted for a criminal offense with a sentence of imprisonment, without Presidential Pardon, is not eligible to be recognized or listed by INEC, which MacIver is affected by these provisions.
“Due to term of imprisonment, MacIver should not be given recognition by INEC as the running mate of Sylva for the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election is not at variance with the Constitution of the Federal of Nigeria, null and void ab initio?
“On the heels of these we are unequivocally stating here that in view of the conviction of MacIver for a sentence of imprisonment, he cannot be a running mate of Sylva who is contesting for the office of Governor of Bayelsa State in the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election, hence Sylva does not have a running mate as submitted to INEC.
“We also declare that recognition and listing of MacIver who is under a sentence of imprisonment, without Presidential Pardon, as the Deputy Governorship candidate Sylva in the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election is illegal, unlawful, null, and a gross violation of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Therefore, we pray the Federal High Court, Abuja to give an order of perpetual injunction restraining the INEC from recognizing MacIver and Sylva as not having a running mate for the 2023 Bayelsa State Governorship Election