Law News
Disqualification: Court orders service on Jonathan in fresh suit

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered that President Goodluck Jonathan be served with court documents in a new suit seeking to disqualify him from seeking re-election in the forthcoming poll.

There are two pending suits seeking Jonathan’s disqualification from participating in the presidential election, now re-scheduled to hold on March 28, before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

There is another one pending before the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

Justice Mohammed, to whom the new suit was assigned, on Friday, granted an ex-parte order directing the service of the court papers on Jonathan.

The judge ordered that the court papers be served on the President, either through the office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation or that of the Attorney General of the Federation.

The judge made order for substituted service on Jonathan following the complaint of the plaintiff, Nkemjika Nkemjika, in his ex parte application that it was impossible to effect personal service on the President, who resides in the well-fortified Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

The President, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Peoples Democratic Party are the defendants in the suit.

Nkemjika asks the court, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1112/2015, to determine whether, having regard to the provisions of sections 135(1)(b) and 135(2)(b) of the Constitution, President Jonathan was qualified to contest this year’s presidential election.

The plaintiff argued that Jonathan’s second term in office would end on May 29, 2015, because Section 135(2)(b) of the Constitution that determines the tenure of office of the country’s President, did not make any provision for a Vice-President to complete the unexpired tenure of office or unexpired term of office of a deceased President.

He contended that Jonathan would have been eligible to further contest this year’s presidential election if he had won an election overseen by the Senate President in 2010 in accordance with the provision of Section 146(2) of the Constitution.

Section 146(2) provides that: “Where any vacancy occurs in the circumstances mentioned in sub-section 1 of this section during a period when the office of the Vice-President is also vacant, the President of the Senate shall hold the office of the President for a period of not more than three months, during which there shall be an election of a new President, who shall hold office for the unexpired term of office of the last holder of the office.”

The plaintiff urged the court to nullify the nomination of Jonathan as PDP’s candidate for the forthcoming presidential election in view of the provision of Section 135(1)(b) of the Constitution, to the effect that “a person shall hold the office of President until he dies whilst holding such office.”

Justice Mohammed has adjourned further hearing in the case to February 26.

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