Plaintiffs say president has served eight years in office
In what might be a signal of President Goodluck Jonathan’s readiness to declare his ambition for the 2015 presidential elections anytime soon, the president on Monday asked a Federal High Court in Kaduna to strike out a suit seeking to stop him from contesting the election.
The suit was filed before the court by the duo of Richard Mneaga and Shuaibu Lilli, who are chieftains of the president’s party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
The plaintiffs, among other prayers in the suit filed on October 7, sought an order of the court to disqualify Mr. Jonathan from presenting himself as the presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2015 election. They insisted that Mr. Jonathan had completed eight years in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, calculated from May 29, 2007.
Mr. Jonathan was sworn in as Vice-President to President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007. After Mr. Yar’Adua’s death in 2010, Mr. Jonathan was sworn in as President.
Messrs. Mneaga and Lilli also want the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to restrain the PDP from accepting the nomination of Mr. Jonathan as a presidential candidate in the 2015 election.
However, the president through his counsel, Fabian Ajoku, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, told the court to dismiss the petition as the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to bring the matter before the court. But, counsel to the petitioners, Abiodun Owonikoko, also a SAN, asked the court to treat the case based on its merit.
Justice Evelyn Anyadike adjourned the case to February 12 for further hearing.