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Bayelsa AC threatens court action over Sylva’s tenure

By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—The actual termination date of the administration of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led administration of Governor Timipre Sylva in Bayelsa State,  has triggered fresh controversy in the state, with the Action Congress, AC,  threatening to go to court for proper interpretation of the matter.

The party described as laughable and misleading, claims that Governor Sylva’s tenure will terminate in  2012.

Bayelsa State government had on Monday dismissed as misplaced fear, claims in some quarters, of the termination date of Sylva’s tenure, in view of  the Federal High Court, Jos ruling on the tenure of the Ekiti State Governor. The state government had said the next governorship election is slated for 2012.

The state Commissioner for Information, Strategy and Orientation, Mr Nathan Egba had said that the Justice Ambrose Allagoa verdict on  the tenure of the Ekiti Governor, Chief Olusegun Oni was based on the cancellation of only 63 units in 10 local government areas,  adding that in the case of Bayelsa State, the entire 2007 election results were cancelled and had to be conducted again in 2008.

But the AC, through its Acting Chairman, Mr. Ebikibina Miriki, faulted the interpretation of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Jos, by the state government, saying it was ready  to approach the court on the issue.

Miriki said it was unprofessional of the Commissioner to make “such jaundiced statement, which is a legal matter.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, the 1999 constitution and the recent amendment to the constitution, as well as the Federal High Court, Jos ruling on Governor Oni’s tenure has addressed the issue instructively and constructively, and we hope that Egba will not join the band wagon of past Information Commissioners in the state, who has in the past acted as a town crier without a listening public.”

“Section 180 (subsection 2a) of the 1999 constitution states that the Governor shall vacate office at the expiration of a period of four years, commencing from the date when he took the oath of allegiance and oath of office.

The 2010 amendment to the constitution further clarifies the position,  that a person whose election as Governor was annulled and also wins a consequent re-run does not serve more than constitutionally prescribed term of office.

The constitutionally prescribed term of office for a Governor is four years. Governor  Sylva was sworn_in, in 2007 and therefore the oath of office he took as a Governor in 2008 was a mere confirmation of the 2007 oath of office he earlier took. His tenure effectively ends on May 29, 2011.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, yesterday also faulted any claim of originality in the interpretation of the court verdict.

The NBA Yanegoa branch Chairman, Mr  Stanley Damabide said though the judgment was only binding on the two parties involved in the suit in Ekiti, the jurisprudence behind the judgment affects the state.

“There is a slight difference in both Ekiti and Bayelsa cases. But the jurisprudence behind the matter raised affects the state. We have to go to court to get a correct interpretation. The NBA will meet next week to take a position on the proposed court action.”


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