Court Adjourns Ruling On Jonathan’s Re-election Eligibility

An Abuja Federal High Court on Monday adjourned till 12 January, 2015 in delivering judgement in a suit filed by Olatoye Wahab and Adejumo Ajegbe, asking for the disqualification of President Goodluck Jonathan from seeking re-election in 2015, according to report.

President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan

The presiding judge Justice Ahmed Mohammed said he will rule on the application, after he had listened to the submissions of both counsel to the plaintiffs and the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF and Minister of Justice Mohammed Adoke.

The plaintiffs had asked the court to determine whether the P​resident was constitutionally eligible to seek re-election, having participated as candidate and emerged winner in two previous presidential elections. They contended that Jonathan had in 2007 contested and won presidential election on a joint ticket with late President Umaru Yar’Adua and in 2011, thereby taking oath of office on two occasions.

The plaintiffs further averred that Jonathan would have been sworn-in twice and spent a commutative period of more than eight years as prescribed by the 1999 Constitution as amended. The plaintiffs also contended that by the combined effect of Section 135(2) (a) and (b) of the Nigerian Constitution, a person sworn-in twice as president is deemed to have been elected to that office twice.

They, therefore, urged the court to determine whether Jonathan, having been elected and sworn-in twice, would not have exhausted the constitutionally allowed maximum of two terms if allowed to seek re-election. The Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mahmoud Magaji, on Monday, brought an application seeking to transfer the suit to the Court of Appeal for determination.

The application was opposed by the AGF’s counsel, who argued that “The Federal High Court is constitutionally empowered to interpret the constitution and determine the case.” He said that the case bordered on interpretation of the provisions of the constitution and referring it to the Court of Appeal would amount to the trial court abandoning its responsibility.

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