Jonathan: I Can Run In 2015

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President
Goodluck Jonathan’s political future seems to be getting clear.
Despite
opposition from certain quarters, Jonathan would not shy away from contesting
in the 2015 election, as allowed in the Constitution.
According
to him, with the political situation of Nigeria, it is better for him to spend
nine years in office than to spend less than the eight years stipulated in the
1999 Constitution.
Jonathan
spoke through his lawyer, Ade Okeya-Inneh (SAN), in a counter-affidavit filed
to a suit by Henry Amadi, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), who
is seeking to stop him from contesting in the election.

In
the suit before a Federal High Court, Abuja, Amadi is contending that Jonathan
can no longer contest in 2015 because by so doing he would be spending more
than the maximum two terms of four years stipulated by the 1999 constitution.

The
suit is similar to another one filed by a chieftain of the PDP, Mr Cyriacus
Njoku, on March 20 before an Abuja High Court urging the court to state whether
Jonathan can run or not.
Judgment
in that suit is pending before Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi.
In
the present suit, the respondents are Jonathan and the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC).
The
plaintiff is pleading with the court to direct INEC not to accept Jonathan’s
nomination as candidate of the PDP for 2015 because the oath of allegiance and
oath of office he would take, if he wins, will violate the two oaths of
allegiance and office stipulated by the 1999 Constitution.
But
in a prelminary objection to the suit, Jonathan, through his lawyer
Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), has asked the court to dismiss the case for lack of
jurisdiction.
According
to him, the plaintiff is an ordinary individual who is not qualified to request
the court to stop him from contesting 2015 presidential election.
Jonathan
said Amadi failed to disclose reasonable cause of action and that the
plaintiff’s claim is hypothetical and academic.
Jonathan
averred that he took the first oath of office on May 6, 2010 following the
death of erstwhile President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.
‘’The
question that arises for determination is whether, having regard to the facts
of this case, he is in his first or second term. In other words, given that the
constitution prescribes a maximum of two terms of four years each totalling a
maximum of eight years as President, is he eligible to run for re-election in
2015?
‘’If
yes, that would mean that, if he wins, he would be in office for a period of
more than eight years. On the other hand, if the answer is no, that would mean
that he, for no fault of his, would be constrained to serve for a period of
less than eight years.
‘’Given
that between May 6, 2010 and May 28, 2011, he held office for the unexpired
term of office of Yar’Adua following his death. Does the constitution
contemplate that the period of about one year and three weeks would constitute
his first term, a period of less than half of the constitutionally prescribed
period of four years’’.
He
added: ‘’In resolving this issue, the court is invited to make a determination
whether the period of May 6, 2010 to May 28, 2011 wherein Jonathan occupied the
office of the president can in law be regarded as one term of office and
relevance of the oath of office Jonathan took on May 6, 2010 in computing the
tenure of office of Jonathan in line with sections 135 (1) and (2), 137 (1)(b),
140 (1) and (2) and 146(1) of the 1999 constitution’’.
‘’This
approach is also consistent with the time-honoured canon of interpretation to
the effect that if confronted with two interpretations, one of which would
abridge a person’s right and another which would maintain or enhance a person’s
rights, the former constitution yields to the latter’’.
The
matter continues.
Source:
The Nation

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