Smarting from the calculated plot by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to truncate his second term ambition in Bayelsa state, Governor Timipre Sylva had approached a Federal High Court siting in Abuja to stop the party from conducting the scheduled primary election from which the candidate of the party for the state’s governorship election is to emerge.
The governor dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the PDP and the Acting National Chairman of the Party, Abubakar Kawu Baraje before the court and pleaded with the court to restrain them from taking any step or steps towards conducting ward congresses or any activity leading to the conduct of fresh gubernatorial primary election for Bayelsa state on the 19th of November, 2011or any other day pending the determination of his motion on notice.
In moving the motion exparte filed on behalf of the Governor by Prince Lateef Fagbemi, a senior advocate of Nigeria, the court was informed of attempts by the PDP to frustrate the legitimate ambition of the governor which the constitution guarantees him. Fagbemi urged the court to restrain the party from circumventing the rights of his client who won an earlier primary election conducted in the state by the party last January before a court decision stopped the governorship election from taking place in some states, including Bayelsa, last April.
The Governor contended that he is the valid flag bearer of the party for the re- scheduled governorship election fixed for January 2012 and that he is still alive and had not withdrawn from the governorship race to warrant the attempts by his party to conduct a fresh primary election.
Among other things, the governor is seeking an order of interim injunction restraining the defendants and any other person however described from conducting, organizing or holding any meeting or ward congress and from embarking on any activities leading to the conduct of fresh gubernatorial primary election for Bayelsa state on the scheduled date or any other date pending the determination of the his case.
The court was also called to make an order restraining the party from submitting the names of any governorship aspirant from Bayelsa state to change or substitute the name of Governor Silva whose name had already been submitted to the Independent National Election Commission, INEC, after the January 2011 primary election in the state.
Governor Sylva also wants the party to be restrained from forwarding any other aspirants’ names to the electoral umpire as the party’s candidate for the governorship election while he is still alive and had not withdrawn his candidacy for the state’s governorship election.
Alternatively, the court was called to make an order directing the PDP and INEC to publish Governor Silva’s name as an aspirant for the 19th November governorship primary election or any governorship primary election scheduled for Bayelsa state on any date which they may choose, pending the determination of his motion on notice.
After hearing Prince Fagbemi, Justice Kolawole stated that the motion exparte is not refused but directed that the defendants be put on notice to enable them, within 72 hours, to come ans show cause why the governor should not be entitled to the preservatory reliefs being sought.
The court also held that in the event of failure on the part of the defendants to come and show course why the orders being sought by the governor shall not be made, that the court will have no hesitation in granting the said orders in such a manner as sought.
In the event that the party defies his orders or takes steps that will prejudice the suit, the court warned that it will, without any ado, nullify such steps in order to protect and preserve the sanctity of the court process.
Failure on the party of the PDP to come within 72 hours after service of the enrolled order to show cause why the governor’s reliefs should not be granted, the court ordered that the reliefs would be deemed to have been granted as prayed.
Hearing of the substantive matter was subsequently adjourned to Tuesday, 22nd November.
By Nnamdi Felix/Abuja