Monday, October 13, 2014 6:41 pm
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
A fresh suit seeking to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from contesting the forthcoming presidential election has been instituted before a federal high court sitting in Abuja.
The new action comes in the wake of attempts by a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to appeal an earlier judgment by an Abuja high court which cleared the President to contest the 2015 presidential election if he so desires.
The instant suit was brought by a member of the president’s political party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Adejumo Mansouru from Lagos state and a member of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, Olatoye Wahab from Osun state. They want the court to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, from allowing President Jonathan to participate in the 2015 presidential election.
They argued that by the provisions of the nation’s Constitution, that the President, having contested the presidential election twice, won and taken the oath of office and allegiance twice in respect that office, could no longer present himself for election to that office the third time. They relied on the provisions of sections 132(1), 135(2)(a) and (b), 137(1)(b), 142(1) and (2) and the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Marwa and Nyako (2012) 6 NWLR (Part 1296) 199 at 306.
They contend that by the provision of the Constitution, that the President and Vice President, who were elected in the same election and sworn into office on the same date and at the same ceremony are, in law, taken to have been elected for one single term of four years notwithstanding the death or even impeachment of the President.
At the proceedings on Monday, their lawyer, Mr. Abiodun Oworikoko, a senior advocate of Nigeria, who led two other senior advocates; Mr. Okon Efut and Mahmud Magaji, requested the court to order an accelerated hearing into the matter in view of the fast approaching 2015 general election. He pointed out that despite the fact that INEC and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice had been served the court papers along with hearing notices, that they failed to come to court. He noted that the order for an accelerated hearing will enable the court to speedily dispose of the matter in view of the general elections scheduled to commence in February, 2015.
The trial judge, Justice A. R Mohammed, however noted that the defendants still have time within the statutory period within which to respond and file in their papers, but agreed that the matter is such that needs to be dispensed with speedily.
He subsequently adjourned the matter to 12th November, for mention