Law News
Appeal Court Fixes Ardo’s Application to Join Suit against Jonathan for Nov 5
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 A PDP presidential aspirant, Dr. Umar Ardo


A presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Umar Ardo, has appealed to the Court of Appeal in Abuja to allow him join a suit challenging the eligibility of President Goodluck Jonathan to seek re-election.

Ardo, who did not participate in the suit at the Abuja High Court where the case was struck out on March 1, 2013, is seeking to join the suit at the Court of Appeal as an appellant.

But counsel to the president, Ade Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), has opposed Ardo’s application to join.

Okeaya-Inneh asked the Court of Appeal to dismiss Ardo’s application as he (Ardo) “has not shown sufficient interest in this appeal and how his interest will be affected by the outcome of the appeal.”

The appeal was originally filed by the plaintiff at the lower court, Mr.  Cyriacus Njoku, who is challenging the judgment of Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, formerly of the Abuja High Court.

The Justice Abubakar Yahaya-led appeal panel of the Court of Appeal yesterday fixed November 5 for the hearing of Ardo’s application to join the suit.

Ardo’s lawyer, Dr. Amuda Kannike (SAN), told the court that both the president and the PDP, who are respondents in the suit, had filed separate counter-affidavits against his application to join the suit as an appellant.

The third respondent in the appeal is the Independent National Electoral Commission. The appellant (Njoku) and all the respondents in the suit were represented by their respective lawyers in court on Wednesday.

Ardo stated in his application that he had been thrice cleared by the PDP to contest for the governorship position of Adamawa State, “as a basis of preparing myself to seek the highest office in the nation.”

He claimed that the decision of the FCT High Court raised “grave points of constitutional law and jurisprudence that is the first of its kind in Nigeria.”
He stated in a supporting affidavit “That I am desirous of contesting the election to the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is slated to hold on or before February 2015 and my desire is mainly built on my conviction that the president would not be eligible to contest the said election which would have cleared the way for a free and fair level-playing field contest for the party primaries.”

He further said the trial judge erred in law when he ruled that the president was on his first tenure of four years and therefore qualified to contest the presidential election in 2015.

“The president  was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and he took the oath of office as president to complete the unexpired tenure between May 29, 2007 and May 28, 2011,” he averred.

He further averred that “section 135(2) of the Constitution does not state that the provision will not apply to a situation where a person assumes the position of president in the circumstance where a president dies while in office.

“Section 137 (1) of the Constitution applies to President Jonathan when he assumed the office of president upon the demise of Yar’Adua.”

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