Nigeria: 2015 - Lawyers, Activist File Court Case to Stop Jonathan
Posted: 23/Sep/2014

Two lawyers and a human rights activist have sued President Goodluck Jonathan, demanding the court declare him unqualified to run in next year's general elections.

Joined as co-defendants are Vice President Namadi Sambo, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The suit was filed Friday at the Federal High Court Abuja, barely a day after the PDP endorsed Jonathan as its sole candidate for the election.

The plaintiff are Mrs Mase Daphne Acho, Mr Sarki Umar Saddik and Mr Murtala Abubakar.

They want the court to determine whether the first oath of office taken by Jonathan and Sambo on May 6 and 19, 2010 respectively, by virtue of section 146 of Constitution of the 1999 (As amended), should be taken into cognisance in determining the number of years that they have spent in offices for purpose of determining their eligibility to contest for another term of four years.

They said this should be viewed with regard to the combined provisions of sections 135(2)(a) and 137(1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Marwa v Nyako (2012) 6 NWLR (Part.1296)200.

They equally want the court to rule that the defendants, having already spent five years in office are not eligible to contest for the office of the President and Vice President for another term of four years.

They argued that if allowed it would amount to a contravention of the combined provisions of sections 135(2)(a) and 137(1)(b) of the Constitution.

They said the first oath of office subscribed to by President Jonathan in May 2010 for the purpose of completion of the "unexpired term of office" of the late President Umaru Musa Yar'adua must be taken into cognizance in computing the number of years that he has served and can serve as the President in determining the effect of the combined provisions of sections 135(2)(a) and 137(1)(b). They argued that the same applies to Vice President Sambo.

They contended that both Jonathan and Sambo are not eligible to serve as President and Vice President for another term of four years after the completion of their current term in view of the combined effect of the provisions of sections 135(2)(a) and 137(1)(b) of the Constitution.

They therefore asked the court to restrain the PDP from fielding Jonathan and Sambo to contest as its Presidential or Vice Presidential candidates in the forthcoming elections.

They also want the court to stop INEC from accepting Jonathan and Sambo as the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates of the PDP.

No date has been fixed for hearing.