Court rules that President Jonathan is eligible for 2015

An Abuja High Court has today delivered judgment on the suit seeking to determine President Goodluck Jonathan’s eligibility to contest the 2015 presidential election.

President Jonathan

The High Court ruled that President Goodluck Jonathan is eligible to stand again for president in 2015.

A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Mr Cyriacus Njoku in March 2012, brought the motion praying for a restraining order against President Jonathan from re-contesting in 2015.

Njoku’s counsel, Mr Ugochukwu Osuagwu Esq. had argued that under sections 135 (2), 136(1) and 137(1) of the Nigeria Constitution (1999) the President cannot take oath of office a third time having already done so on May 6, 2010 and May 29, 2011.

But counsel to Jonathan, Mr Ade Okeaya Inneh (SAN), who argued that Jonathan is serving out his first term, added that under section 315 (3) of the constitution, the tenure of the President can extend beyond the two terms provided in the constitution.

Nigeria has a two-term limit for presidents and Mr Jonathan began serving his first full term in 2011.

But he led the country from early 2010 following the illness and eventual death of then President Umaru Yar’Adua for whom he served as deputy.

The presidential aspirant from within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had argued that this disqualified him.

The Abuja High Court dismissed the argument made by Cyriacus Njoku’s lawyer that under the constitution the same person could not take the oath of office three times.

The PDP and its presidential candidate have won every election since military rule ended in 1999.

Last month, Nigeria’s four main opposition parties merged to form All Progressive Congress (APC) party in order to challenge the PDP in two years’ time.

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