Timipre Sylva has resigned as Nigeria’s minister of state for petroleum resources to govern Bayelsa State again on the All Progressive Congress party platform, sources told Reuters on Thursday.
According to Reuters, Sylva handed his resignation letter last week to President Muhammadu Buhari, the federal minister for petroleum, and stopped coming to the office.
“They said he would be seeking the ruling All Progressives Congress ticket to run for Bayelsa governor in party primaries scheduled to take place on April 14,” Reuters said.
As a candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Sylva won the 2007 Bayelsa State gubernatorial election and succeeded Goodluck Jonathan, who became Vice President.
He served as governor of Bayelsa for one full term between 2008 and 2012. At the time, he was a member of the People’s Democratic Party, which was then in power at the federal level but is now in opposition.
Sylva’s opponent in the 2007 election, Ebitimi Amgbare of the Action Congress, legally challenged his victory. Although the Bayelsa State Election Petitions Tribunal upheld Sylva’s election, Amgbare took the matter to the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt, which overturned the Tribunal’s decision and nullified Sylva’s election on April 15, 2008.
The Appeal Court’s five justices were unanimous in their decision and ordered that Speaker Werinipre Seibarugo be sworn in to replace Sylva as acting Governor, with a new election to be held within three months.
A new election was held on May 24, 2008, and Sylva, again running as the PDP candidate, was overwhelmingly elected with 588,204 out of about 598,000 votes. However, on January 27, 2012, his tenure was terminated by the Supreme Court with an acting governor appointed to oversee the state until the election of February 2012.
President Buhari appointed Sylva on August 21, 2019, as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources. He oversaw major reforms in the oil sector, including passing legislation that overhauled the sector’s fiscal regime to spur investment.