Court fixes Oct 18 to know Jonathan’s fate in 2015 elections
October 18 has been fixed by an Abuja high court to determine whether President Goodluck Jonathan will have a place in the 2015 presidential elections. Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi at the Abuja High Court, yesterday, fixed the date of judgment after entertaining arguments form parties to the suit filed by a member of the Peoples Democratic party, PDP, Mr Cyriacus Njoku.
It was argued in the court that Jonathan was currently doing his first term in the office as provided by the Nigerian 1999 constitution as amended. The constitution of Nigeria only makes provisions for a president to contest for not more than two terms of four years each. This means that the constitution recognizes the President’s tenure of office to be four years.
Jonathan has not indicated anywhere in words or in writing that he would contest for the 2015 elections, PDP maintained. Consequently, they insisted that the plaintiff was bereft of the locus to seek such declarative orders against Jonathan.
Meanwhile, the plaintiff who argued through his counsel, Mr Ugochukwu Osuagwu, urged the court to discountenance the preliminary objections by the defendants and decide the case on its merit.
After listening to the parties, Justice Oniyangi adjourned the case for judgment, noting that the long adjournment was due to the fact that the court is embarking on a long vacation.
It will be recalled that the plaintiff who said he intends to contest presidency in 2015, approached the court, asking it to determine “Whether Section 135(2) of the Constitution, which specifies a period of four years in office for the President, is only available or applicable to a person elected on the basis of an actual election or includes one in which a person assumes the position of President by operation of law, as in the case of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
As well as, “whether Section 137(1) (b) of the Constitution, which provides that a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President, if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections, applies to the first defendant, who first took an oath of office as substantive President on May 6, 2010 and took a second oath as President on May 29, 2011.”
Consequently, he sought a declaration that ‘the President’s tenure of office began on May 6, 2010 when his first term began and his two terms shall end on May 29, 2015 after taking his second oath of office on May 29, 2011; and by virtue of Section 136 (1) (b) of the Constitution, no person (including the first defendant) shall take the oath of allegiance and the oath of office prescribed to in the Seventh Schedule to this Constitution more than twice.
He equally beseeched the court for an order of injunction restraining President Jonathan from further contesting or attempting to vie for President after May 29, 2015 when his tenure shall by the Nigerian Constitution afforested ends.
As well as for an order of injunction restraining the PDP from further sponsoring or attempting to sponsor the first defendant as candidate for election to the office of the President in the 2015; and an order directing the third defendant, INEC, from accepting the name of the first defendant where sponsored by his party again to run for president in the 2015 presidential election to be supervised and conducted by the third defendant (INEC).
However, though President Jonathan earlier challenged the suit which he branded “frivolous and highly vexatious,” the PDP, yesterday, adduced reasons why it ought to be dismissed in its entirety.
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