EXCLUSIVE: Court To Announce Jonathan ‘Constitutionally, Morally’ Qualified To Contest For 2023 President, Fixes Date
Information reaching Ibom Focus says that Court To Announce Jonathan ‘Constitutionally, Morally’ Qualified To Contest For 2023 President
A Federal High Court sitting in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State will on Friday rule that former President Goodluck Jonathan is “constitutionally” qualified to contest for president in 2023, SaharaReporters has gathered.
Jonathan was Nigeria’s vice-president between 2007 and 2010. He became the president in May 2010 following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and completed the latter’s tenure.
Jonathan won the 2011 presidential election but lost his attempt to secure a second term in office in 2015.
It was learnt that Jonathan through a proxy, Andy Solomon approached the court praying he is “pre-eminently constitutionally, morally and legally qualified to contest the 2023 presidential election.”
The case with suit no FHC/YNG/CS/2022 has Andy Solomon as the plaintiff and the former President and two others as defendants.
The judgment which is the plan of the Aso Rock cabal supporting Jonathan is expected to be delivered by Justice Hamma Adama Dashen on Friday, multiple sources told SaharaReporters on Thursday.
Justice Dashen, born on April 4, 1962, hails from Adamawa State.
“The case is Andy Solomon vs Dr. Goodluck Jonathan & 2 Ors. I understand tomorrow (Friday) is the day for that judgement from the Federal High Court in Yenagoa declaring Goodluck Jonathan is eligible to contest.
“They are tying up their loose ends,” a source privy to the case told SaharaReporters on Thursday.
Following speculations that he was preparing to defect to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and seek the presidential ticket of the party, some Nigerians, including human rights lawyer Femi Falana, argued that his candidature will breach the constitution. But other Nigerians have also expressed different opinions on the issue.
Falana had based his position on Section 137 (3) of the Constitution, which provides as follows: “A person who was sworn in to complete the term for which another person was elected as president shall not be elected to such office for more than a single term.”
Falana had said, “Some people have said that the amendment is not retrospective and therefore cannot apply to Dr Jonathan. Assuming without conceding that the amendment is not retrospective it is submitted that under the current Constitution a President or Governor cannot spend more than two terms of eight years.
“In other words, the Constitution will not allow anyone to be in office for more than a cumulative period of 8 years. In Marwa v. Nyako (2012) 6 NWLR (Pt.1296) 199 at 387 the Supreme Court stated that Section 180 (1) and (2)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has prescribed a single term of 4 years and if a second term, another period of 4 years and not a day longer.
“In the case of Governor Ladoja v INEC (2008)40 WRN 1 the Supreme Court rejected the prayer of Governor Ladoja for 11 months’ extension to cover the period he was kept out of office through illegal impeachment. The Supreme Court rejected the prayer on the ground that a Governor is entitled to spend a maximum period of eight years or less and not more than eight years.
“It is not in dispute that Dr. Jonathan became the President of Nigeria in 2010 following the sudden death of President Umaru Yar’Adua. He later contested and won the 2011 presidential election. Having spent five years in office as President, Dr. Jonathan is disqualified from contesting the 2023 presidential election. The reason is that if he wins the election, he will spend an additional term of four years. It means that he would spend a cumulative period of 9 years as President of Nigeria in utter breach of Section 137 of the Constitution which provides for a maximum two terms of eight years.”