Ruling on suit against Jonathan in March

By The Citizen
Listen to article

A Federal High Court in Kaduna has fixed March 17 for judgment in a suit filed by Alhaji Shuaibu Lilli and others challenging the right of President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the 2015 elections.

The plaintiffs, in an originating summons, dated October 7, sued the President, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), seeking an order banning Jonathan from contesting.

They argued that having been President after the death of former President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, Dr Jonathan has served two terms and is not qualified for re-election.

But Dr. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), counsel to Jonathan, filed a 21-paragraph counter-affidavit and a preliminary objection with written arguments.

He averred that the suit constitutes an abuse of court process because the matter for which the plaintiffs instituted the suit had been decided by an Abuja High, in Cyriacus Njoku vs Goodluck Jonathan and two others.

Ajogwu argued that the plaintiffs had no locus standi to bring the suit against the Jonathan because, as the President, he enjoys immunity from civil and criminal proceedings brought against him in his personal capacity.

Citing Section 308 of the Constitution, Ajogwu said the court also lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

He noted that the plaintiffs' questions in their originating summons were indeterminable, hypothetical, premature and speculative of what may or may not be the first defendant's intentions or state of mind and were merely academic.

Ajogwu argued that their originating summons do not have on it the mandatory endorsement to serve out of the state as required by law.

He said: 'The plaintiffs' suit is premised on issues surrounding the election and term of office of the first defendant's predecessor-in-office, now of blessed memory. In the circumstance of this case, there is no cause of action against the first defendant.'

The lawyer urged the court to rule in Jonathan's favour and dismiss the suit.

He averred that since there was no law barring Jonathan from running for the presidential election to warrant the plaintiffs' action against the him, they had no cause of action against him.