2015: High Court declares Jonathan eligible for presidential elections

A federal High Court in Kaduna yesterday ruled in favour of President Goodluck Jonathan to stand for the presidential elections in 2015.

The court also struck out a suit seeking to restrain him from seeking re-election.

The suit was filed  by two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Richard Mneaga and Shuaibu Lill.

The duo had sought for among other prayers, an order of the court to disqualify Jonathan from presenting himself as the 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 his nomination as its presidential candidate in the 2015 election.

They hinged their argument on the fact that Jonathan would have completed eight years in office as president of Nigeria by the end of his current tenure.

To this end, they sought 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.”

But ruling on the case yesterday, Justice Evelyn Anyadike said the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to drag President Jonathan to court based on Section 308 of the constitution which gave him immunity not to sue or be sued, and therefore affirmed that Jonathan had the constitutional right to contest for presidency in 2015 if he so desired.

She also said the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter since the plaintiffs did not follow due process of filing their case, saying the petition was served out of jurisdiction.

She therefore  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 on, to deliver her judgement, saying the judge ought to have looked at the matter on its merit.

He was, however, quick to say that his clients would  proceed to the Appeal Court for further interpretation of the lower court’s judgement and for the upper court to determine whether or not President Jonathan had the constitutional right to seek for another term in office in 2015


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