Timipre Sylva, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, has been disqualified from the race, throwing the party into disarray. The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) released amended lists of governorship candidates on Tuesday, excluding Sylva and his running mate, Joshua Maciver.
The disqualification stems from a Federal High Court ruling on October 10, which held that Sylva is not qualified to contest the election because he has already served two terms as state governor. The judge ruled that allowing Sylva to contest again would breach the 1999 constitution.
The APC gubernatorial campaign council has urged its supporters not to be deterred by the disqualification and has said that the party is appealing the decision. However, the disqualification is a major setback for the APC in Bayelsa State, and it raises the possibility that the party may not be able to participate in the election at all.
The disqualification of Sylva is also a reminder of the APC’s troubles in Bayelsa State. In 2019, the APC candidate, David Lyon, won the governorship election but was disqualified by the Supreme Court on the grounds that his running mate submitted forged documents to INEC.
The APC’s disqualification from the Bayelsa governorship election would be a major blow to the party’s ambitions in the South-South region. The region is a traditional stronghold of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the APC has been trying to make inroads in the area.
The outcome of the Bayelsa governorship election will be closely watched as a test of the APC’s strength in the South-South region. The election will also be seen as a referendum on the performance of the APC-led government in Bayelsa State.