An Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, will today, determine whether President Goodluck Jonathan is eligible or not to contest Presidency in 2015.
It was an aggrieved member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr Cyriacus Njoku, that approached the court, asking it to go ahead and 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.”
In his suit, Cyriacus who said he intended to vie for the Presidency in 2015, is also urging the high court to determine “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.”
He is seeking 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.
Meanwhile, both President Jonathan and the PDP, in separate preliminary objections they filed against the suit, described it as “frivolous and highly vexatious,” saying it ought to be dismissed in its entirety as grossly lacking in merit.
They contended that the plaintiff failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action that precipitated the suit, insisting that Jonathan is currently doing his first term of four years in office as the President of Nigeria as provided by the 1999 constitution as amended.
According to the PDP, “President Jonathan’s status and position is formidably backed by the 1999 constitution. The constitution of Nigeria only makes provisions for a president to contest for not more than two terms of four years each. The constitution recognizes the President’s tenure of office to be four years.”