2015: Court Clears Jonathan To Contest
A Federal High Court in Kaduna on Monday struck out a suit seeking to
restrain President Goodluck Jonathan from seeking re-election in the 2015
general elections brought before it by two leaders of the People's
Democratic Party (PDP).
The plaintiffs, Richard Mneaga, and Shuaibu Lill had sought for, among
other prayers, an order of the court to disqualify Jonathan from
presenting himself as a presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2015
election, and for the court to order the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC) to restrain the PDP from accepting nomination of
Jonathan as its presidential candidate in the 2015 election.
In the suit, filed on October 7, 2013, they insisted that Jonathan had
completed eight years in office as President of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria calculated from May 29, 2007.
The plaintiffs also sought for “a declaration that President Jonathan is
not entitled to tenure of office as President exceeding eight years
calculated from 2007, till last holder of the said office”.
Ruling on the case, the presiding judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike said the
plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to drag President Jonathan to court
based on section 308 of the Constitution which gives him immunity not to
sue or be sued, and therefore affirmed that Jonathan has the
constitutional right to contest for presidency in 2015 if he so desire.
She also said the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter
since the plaintiffs did not follow the due process of filing their case,
saying the petition was served out of jurisdiction. She however dismissed
the case for lack of merit.
Reacting to the judgment, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mohammed Ibrahim,
faulted the technicalities on which the judge relied to deliver her
judgement instead of looking at the matter from its merit.
He, however, said they would proceed to the Appeal Court for further
interpretation of the lower court judgement and also for the upper court
to determine whether President Jonathan had the constitutional right to
seek another term in office in 2015.
But Counsels to the first and second defendants, President Goodluck
Jonathan and the PDP, Nnamdi Ekwem and Victor Kwon respectively, hailed
the judgment, describing it as another landmark victory for democracy and
rule of law.
They faulted the petitioners for dragging Jonathan to court since he has
not declared his intention to contest for the presidency in 2015.