2023: Court Gives Final Judgement On Jonathan Eligibility To Contest For President

A Federal High Court sitting in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State has declared that former President Goodluck Jonathan is eligible and “constitutionally” qualified to contest for president in 2023.

In his judgment on Friday, Justice Hamma Adama Dashen said Jonathan is not affected by the fourth alteration to the constitution barring Vice-Presidents who succeed their principals from serving more than one full term.

In 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the fourth alteration of the 1999 Constitution which bars Vice-Presidents who succeed their principals from serving more than one full term.

Jonathan was Nigeria’s vice-president between 2007 and 2010. He became the president in May 2010 following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and completed the latter’s tenure.

He won the 2011 presidential election but lost his attempt to secure a second term in office in 2015.

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Using proxies, Jonathan approached the court praying he “is pre-eminently constitutionally, morally and legally qualified to contest the 2023 presidential election.”

The case with suit no FHC/YNG/CS/86/2022 has Andy Solomon and Idibiye Abraham as plaintiffs while All Progressives Congress, Jonathan and the Independent National Electoral Commission were listed as defendants.

Apparently in a haste to ensure that the judgement was delivered before the APC primary which is slated for Sunday, the plaintiffs requested an accelerated hearing via a motion ex parte.

NAIJA LIVE TV gathered that the judgment was part of the plans of the Aso Rock cabal supporting Jonathan to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari.

NAIJA LIVE TV on Thursday reported that Jonathan had submitted the N100 million forms a few days earlier to the National Chairman of the ruling party, Abdullahi Adamu.

“His form has secretly been submitted. He submitted his nomination form through the APC Chairman a few days ago,” a source in the ruling party privy to information had said.

“Members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabal are still pushing for Jonathan to become the party’s consensus candidate.”

Background

Jonathan had recently rejected the presidential form of the ruling APC purchased for him, purportedly by a group of supporters from the northern region.

Speaking through his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, the former president said it was an insult for the group to have bought him the forms without his permission.

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However, sources had told NAIJA LIVE TV that claims by the former President that he did not authorise the purchase of the multi-million-naira forms are far from the truth.

Jonathan was Nigeria’s leader as a member of the PDP, which is now an opposition party.

It was reported that, the cabal in the ruling APC had pushed for Jonathan to succeed Buhari, after being impressed by how the former President never openly criticised Buhari government despite its ineptitude and the insults the APC, as an opposition party, hurled at him (Jonathan) ahead of the 2015 presidential election.

Following speculations that Jonathan was preparing to defect to the ruling APC and seek the presidential ticket of the party, some Nigerians, including human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN), argued that his candidature will breach the constitution. Other Nigerians have also expressed different opinions on the issue.

Falana had based his position on Section 137 (3) of the Constitution, which provides as follows: “A person who was sworn in to complete the term for which another person was elected as president shall not be elected to such office for more than a single term.”

Falana had said, “Some people have said that the amendment is not retrospective and therefore cannot apply to Dr Jonathan.

Assuming without conceding that the amendment is not retrospective it is submitted that under the current Constitution a President or Governor cannot spend more than two terms of eight years.

NAIJA LIVE TV reported that, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has reportedly granted former President Goodluck Jonathan a waiver to contest the upcoming party’s presidential primary.
It was learned that Jonathan was granted the waiver after meeting with the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, at the former President’s house in Abuja last week.

More to follow

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