For allegedly not resigning his position as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, some card-carrying members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Bayelsa State, have called for the disqualification of Timipre Sylva from contesting the governorship primaries of the party.
The party faithful drawn from over forty wards in Ekeremor, Ogbia, Sagbama, Kolokuma/Opokuma and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas of the State, in a petition to the party's national leadership, pointed out that as at the time the minister was screened, he had not resigned his ministerial position which is a clear violation of the party's constitution.
The petition which was addressed to the national chairman, national secretary, legal adviser and national organising secretary of the party, was signed by Doubra Kpoku, Nelson Gbeinbo, Charles Fyneman, Ogbel Joseph, Dressman Isowo, among others.
They vowed to approach the court to seek the disqualification of Sylva if the party hierarchy fails to disqualify the Minister who is also a former governor of the state adding that it is the same scenario that played out during the nomination and expression of interest for the presidential ticket of the party by political office holders.
The petition reads: “The grounds for our objection are as follows: 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 Minister had failed, refused and or neglected to resign his ministerial position as Minister of State for Petroleum Resources.
“This is against the extant provisions of Article 31 paragraph (iii) APC Constitution, as amended; the 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 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 President 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 Amaechi and Chief Godswill Akpabio all resigned as Ministers of Transport and that of Niger Delta Affairs respectively ahead of the Presidential primaries.
“Of more fundamental import 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 APC in Bayelsa State must get it right this time around.”