Why Sylva Was Disqualified From Bayelsa Guber Election

The judge says allowing Sylva to contest again would breach the 1999 constitution.

Sylva’s disqualification was pronounced by Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday, October 10, 2023.

According to the judge, the disqualification is premised on the fact that Sylva had already been sworn in twice as Governor of Bayelsa State, adding that he had served as the state governor for five years.


The justice said allowing the former governor to contest again would breach the 1999 constitution.

Justice Okorowo maintained that Sylva was not qualified to run in the November poll because if he wins the election and is sworn in again, he would spend more than eight years in office as governor of the state.

Sylva’s first shot at contesting for gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa State was in 2006 when he contested the Peoples Democratic Party’s gubernatorial primaries.



He came second in the election, while Goodluck Jonathan emerged as the winner of the party’s governorship ticket.

Fortunately for Sylva, Jonathan was appointed as a running mate to the Late Musa Yar’adua, the PDP presidential candidate in the 2007 general election.

As a result, the governorship candidacy of the PDP in Bayelsa became vacant and the party decided to present Sylva as its governorship flag bearer.


Sylva went on to win the election and was sworn in in May 2007, but one of his opponents, Ebitimi Amgbare of the Action Congress challenged his election at the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt.

In their judgement, the Appeal Court judges overturned Sylva’s election and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election on May 24, 2008.

Again, Sylva won the election with 588,204 votes and was sworn in for the second time as the Governor of Bayelsa State in May 2008.


However, four months before the end of his full tenure, the Supreme Court terminated his administration on January 27, 2012.

It is against this background that Justice Okorowo ruled that Sylva cannot contest for governorship position again in Bayelsa



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