Barristers & Solicitors
Court adjourns Sylva’s running mate’s eligibility case to Sept 13
Bayelsa State map

The Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa has adjourned to September 13, 2023, the case filed by a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress in Bayelsa State, Isikima Johnson, who is challenging the eligibility of the party’s deputy governorship candidate, Joshua Maciver, for the November 11 polls.

The presiding judge, Justice Olaide Quadiri, adjourned the suit marked FHC/YNG)/114/2023 after all parties agreed on the date during the court session on Monday.

Johnson is contending that Maciver was allegedly convicted of murder and terrorism by a court of competent jurisdiction in 2006, and as such he was not qualified to be the running mate to the APC governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva.

She is also arguing that Maciver allegedly lied on oath when he declared that he was not an ex-convict when he filled out his form by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

When the matter came up for hearing on Monday, Johnson’s counsel, Leizou Elijah, told the court that they had filed an application for conversion of the originating summons to pleadings (writ of summons).

However, the inability of the plaintiff and defendant’s legal teams to conclude the exchange of filed processes occasioned the adjournment of the matter to September 13.

Justice Quadiri therefore directed that all processes should be served on all parties before the adjourned date “for hearing of all pending applications and the substantive suit.”

Counsel to Johnson, Leizou Elijah, declined comments on the matter when approached by journalists for an interview at the end of proceedings.

But Dr Ogwu Onoja, SAN, the lead counsel for Sylva and Maciver, who was represented by Benjamin Ogbara, said they had earlier filed a counter affidavit and preliminary objection which had been served on the plaintiff.

He claimed he was confident that the court would not entertain the case as it was statute barred.

He said, “We have filed our counter affidavit and preliminary objection, and we have served on them. But today we came to court and we are told they have filed another process called a motion to convert the originating process which they filed on May 25th to pleadings (writ of summons), and we have not been served that process.

“As far as I’m concerned, the process is in court. I know that the court cannot entertain this matter. That is basically what I know about it because the matter is statute barred.”

Recall that the APC had on April 25 forwarded the names of Sylva and Maciver to the INEC as its validly nominated governorship and deputy candidates for the Bayelsa polls, and the commission had since published their candidatures accordingly.

Sylva polled 52, 061 votes to emerge as the APC standard flag bearer and Maciver came second with 2, 078 votes at the party’s primary election conducted on April 14 and 15 in the state. Also, the APC governorship candidate in 2019, David Lyon got third position with 1,584 votes, and Prof. Ongoebi Etebu polled 1,277 votes while Isikima Johnson and Festus Daumiebi scored 584 votes and 557 votes respectively.

PUNCH