Some members of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State have called on the National Executive Committee of the APC to disqualify the Minister of State for Petroleum Resource, Timipre Sylva, from participating in the party’s April 14 2023 primary election for the state governorship election.
The card-carrying members of the APC said in a petition to the national leadership of the party that their reason was hinged on the refusal of Sylva to resign his office to pursue his aspiration.
The APC stakeholders drawn from over 40 wards in the Sagbama, Ekeremor, Ogbia, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Southern Ijaw local government areas argued in their petition that the minister had not quit office as of the date he presented himself for screening by the panel of the party.
The petition, titled, ‘Request for disqualification of Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva, Minister of State Petroleum Resources from participating in the APC Bayelsa State gubernatorial primaries for April 14, 2023 or any other date’, was signed by Doubra Kpoku, Nelson Gbeinbo, Charles Fyneman, Ogbel Joseph, Dressman Isowo, and addressed to the APC national chairman, secretary, legal adviser and the national organising secretary of the party.
They said Sylva’s action was a violation of the APC constitution and threatened to drag the party to court if it failed to do the needful.
The document reads, “We are card-carrying members of the APC, Bayelsa State Chapter from various wards in different local government areas of Bayelsa State and refer to the above captioned matter for your urgent attention and action to avoid our dear party from being ridiculed in the forth-coming governorship elections slated for November 2023 or any other date.
“The grounds for our objection are as follows: i. As at 25th March 2023 when the Honourable Minister, Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva presented himself for screening at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Abuja International Hotel, Abuja, in his bid to contest the primaries which is expected to be conducted any time soon, the Honourable Minister had failed, refused and/or neglected to resign his ministerial position as Minister of State for Petroleum of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This is against the extant provisions of Article 31 paragraph (iii) APC Constitution, as amended; The Honourable Minister and now aspirant for Governor of Bayelsa State is a member of the APC holding political office by virtue of his membership of the APC and as leader of the Party in Bayelsa State.
“It is only reasonable that he should respect the Party Constitution by resigning 30 (thirty) days before the primaries (scheduled for April 14, 2023). It is clear that as at 25th of March, 2023 when the Honourable Minister presented himself for the screening, it is already less than 30 days to 14th of April, 2023 being the date schedule for the APC Governorship Primaries in Bayelsa State for which the Honourable Minister is an aspirant.
“In our opinion, the Honourable Minister cannot and should not be encouraged to eat his cake and have it. This was the same scenario that played out during the nomination and expression of interest for the presidential ticket of the party by political office holders in the government of His Excellency Muhamadu Buhari as all political office holders as ministers in the Federal Executive Council resigned before the APC presidential primaries: Cases in point are Chief Rotimi Amechi and Chief Godswill Akpabio all resigned as ministers of Transport and that of Niger Delta Affairs respectively ahead of the presidential primaries.
“ii. Of more fundamental importance, is the implication of the Honourable Minister who has been sworn in twice as Governor of Bayelsa State in 2007 and 2008 bearing in mind the clear provision of section 180 (2A) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended. The Honourable Minister’s ambition in the circumstance is one likely to be mired in controversy and ultimately cause the party in Bayelsa State to lose its fortunes at the polls in November 2023,
“It is in view of the above that we now request that the aspiration of Chief Timipre Marlin Sylva to partake in the primaries be refused and he be disqualified by the Screening Panel set up by our beloved party.
“Take notice that where this petition is not considered in its merits and the Honourable Minister is not disqualified as requested, we shall have no other option than to approach the court for redress. The All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State must get it right this time around.”