Court fixes June 21 to hear case seeking to bar Jonathan in 2015

An Abuja High Court has fixed June 21 to hear the suit seeking to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from contesting in the 2015 elections.

The suit, filed by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zuba Ward of Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja, Cyriacus Njoku, joined the National Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur, and INEC as parties.

Mr. Njoku is asking the court to stop Jonathan on the grounds that “he is already in his second term in office, having taken oath of office as president twice”.

The plantiff also wants the court to explain if Section 135 (2) of the Constitution, which specifies a period of four years in office for the President is only applicable to a person elected on the basis of an actual election.

He also wants the court to determine if the section includes when a person assumed the position of President by operation of the law as in the case of Jonathan

Mr. Njoku wants the court to hold that the section applies to Jonathan, who first took oath of office as substantive President on May 6, 2010 and took a second oath as President on May 29, 2011.

On April 18, counsel to Mr. Njoku, Osuagwu Ugochukwu, had told the court that his client is willing to explore avenues of settlement out of court.

Mr. Ugochukwu told the court that the PDP chapter in Zuba Ward, where the plaintiff is a registered member, proposed the out of court settlement.

Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi had then fixed May 30 to receive the report of the proposed out of court settlement.

But at the resumed hearing, Mr. Ugochukwu told the court that the out of court settlement has failed.

“My Lord, the settlement out of court did not work out. My client wants to proceed with this matter,” he said.

Counsel to the president Goodluck Jonathan, Ade Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), told the court that in view of the circumstance that he would apply for conditional appearance, “I want to apply for conditional appearance,” he said.

Mr. Okeaya-Inneh urged the court to grant him leave to file a memorandum of appearance and a preliminary objection to the suit.

The judge granted the prayers of Mr. Okeaya-Inneh and ordered that he should be duly served as other parties in the suit with all court processes.

The judge then adjourned the matter to June 21, for hearing of the counter motion/preliminary objections by counsel to Jonathan, PDP and the INEC.

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