Law News
Court to hear Jonathan’s eligibility suit Monday

The plaintiffs who withdrew their suit challenging the eligibility of President Goodluck Jonathan to seek re-election from a Federal High Court, Abuja, has re-filed the suit before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, Abuja.

Justice Ishaq Bello on Wednesday fixed Monday, February 23, 2015, for the hearing of the suit.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja had struck out the case on February 11 when the counsel for the plaintiffs applied to discontinue it.

The plaintiffs did not give any reason for discontinuing the case.

The judge had ordered the plaintiffs to pay N50,000 to Jonathan, whose lawyers had been made to file responses before the decision to withdraw the suit.

The plaintiffs are Prof. Tunde Samuel, Dr. Junaidu Mohammed, Mr. Rasak Adeogun and Yahaya Ezeemoo Ndu.

President Jonathan is the only defendant in the suit and he had been served through the publication of the court processes in the February 12, 2015 edition of The PUNCH newspaper in line with an earlier order of the court.

Counsels for the plaintiffs, Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN), and that of the defendant, Mr. Kenechukwu Nomeh, were in court on Wednesday when the court fixed February 23 for the hearing in the suit.

In their originating summons filed through their counsel, the plaintiffs contended that Jonathan was ineligible to re-contest for the office of the President, arguing that allowing him to do so could amount to him spending more than eight years constitutionally allowed for anyone to serve in the office.

They want the court to declare that by virtue of the provisions of the Constitution it was “unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal and not permissible for any person to occupy the office of the President of Nigeria for more than a cumulative and aggregate period of eight years when the country was not at war.”

They contended that if Jonathan won another term of four years from 2015, he would have been permitted to occupy the office for more than eight years.

They asked the court to declare that in computing the period already spent in office as President by Jonathan, the period from May 6, 2010 to May 28, 2011 should be reckoned with.

They also sought a declaration that having spent a period of more than four years in office as President since May 6, 2010, Jonathan no longer had the “competence, authority or entitlement to contest for the same office for another term of four years.”

There are about two other suits challenging Jonathan’s eligibility to seek another term in office still pending before Justice Mohammed at the Federal High Court. There are also two others before the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

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