Court orders papers served on Jonathan over qualification for 2015

Former Nigeria`s, President Goodluck Jonathan
Former president Goodluck Jonathan campaigning. Pic used to illustrate the story.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court has ordered that court documents in a fresh suit seeking to disqualify President Goodluck Jonathan from seeking re-election in the March 28 poll should be served on him.

The court said the papers should either be served on the president through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, or the Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation.

The suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/1112/2015, instituted by Nkemjika Nkemjika was assigned to the court of Friday. The defendants in the suit apart from Mr. Jonathan are his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

A separate suit had earlier been filed seeking Mr. Jonathan disqualification from the presidential race before the court and another is also pending at the Court of Appeal.

Mr. Nkemjika had in his ex parte application said the court’s document could not be served directly on the president because he lives in the Aso Rock Villa, which is fortified.

He had asked the court to determine whether, having regard to the provisions of sections 135(1) (b) and 135(2) (b) of the Constitution, the president was qualified to contest the presidential election.

He contended that Mr. Jonathan’s second term in office would end on May 29, because Section 135(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (amended) does not envisage that the vice president should complete the unexpired tenure of office or unexpired term of office of a deceased President.

According to him, the president should be qualified to contest the 2015 presidential poll if he had won an election supervised 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.”

Mr. Nkemjika asked the court to remove Mr. Jonathan’s as the presidential candidate of PDP in view of the provision of Section 135(1)(b) of the Constitution, which states: “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a person shall hold office of the President until he dies whilst holding such office.”

The judge subsequently adjourned the suit to February 26.


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