Posted by News Express | 18 February 2014 | 3,229 times
A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna yesterday fixed March 17, 2014 for judgment on whether sitting President Goodluck Jonathan is eligible to contest the 2015 presidential elections or not.
Adjourning for judgment, the Presiding Judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike said all submissions by the counsels would be considered and judgment delivered on the 17th of next month.
According to the judge, due to the urgency of the matter, especially with the approaching of the electioneering year, judgment would be delivered on the said date to permanently lay the matter to rest.
The suit was brought before the court by two politicians; Mr. Richard Mnenga and Alhaji Shuaibu Lilli. Both men are praying the court to issue an order disqualifying President Jonathan from presenting himself as the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 election. The plaintiffs also want the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to restrain the PDP from accepting the nomination of Jonathan as a Presidential Candidate in the 2015 election.
In the suit filed on October 7, 2013, the plaintiffs contended that President Jonathan would have completed eight years in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by 2015, calculated from May 29, 2007. They are, therefore, seeking a declaration that President Jonathan is not entitled to a tenure of office as President exceeding eight years calculated from 2007, till last holder of the said office.
However, Fabian Ajoku SAN, counsel to President Jonathan, the first respondent, asked the court to dismiss the petition as the plaintiffs lack the locus standi to bring the matter before the court. He expressed optimism that the case would be struck out at the end of the day.
Ajoku also argued that the suit is a breach of court process, considering that a similar matter had already been determined by a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja.
Ajoku, whose brief was held by Matthew Echo, Esq., further argued that the first respondent enjoys immunity as provided by the constitution in his capacity as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In his own address, lead counsel to the plaintiffs, Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, argued that the matter before the court is not connected to the person of the President but a declaration that Dr. Jonathan has already spent four years in office as the President because of the death of his late boss, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Owonikoko argued that if Jonathan is allowed to contest the 2015 presidential election and is elected, he would have ended up spending 10 years as President in contravention of the Constitution of Nigeria that permits only eight years for President.
Lead counsel, whose brief was held by Princess Folashde Aofolaju, based his argument on section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.
•Photo shows President Jonathan.
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