The presidential ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday received a major boost as the Appeal Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, on Tuesday confirmed that the president is eligible to seek a second term in office in the 2015 presidential election.
Delivering a judgment on a suit challenging President Jonathan’s eligibility, the Appeal Court held that the first tenure of the President started in 2011, after he was elected President in the April 11 election.
The court struck out the suit and held that the President took his first oath of office on May 29, 2011 and that May 2015 would not be the end of a second tenure as claimed by the appellants.
It also ruled that “his becoming president 0n May 6 2010 is an operation of a constitutional provision, following the demise of a president”.
“Appeal Lacks Merit”
The court further held that ascending the office of the President in 2010 was not an election and as such could not be counted as part of his tenure.
According to the court, the President is eligible to stand for the election. It then held that “the appeal lacks merit and is dismissed”.
The appellants were ordered to pay the President and the Peoples Democratic Party 50,000 Naira as cost of undertaking the trial process.
On February 24, the suit was referred to the Court of Appeal, Abuja division for proper adjudication by Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court.
The Appeal Court was asked to interpret sections 135 and 137 of the constitution, as they relate to tenure of the office of the President.
Justice Mohammed said he had taken a look into the four issues formulated for determination and eight reliefs sought by the plaintiffs and discovered that they were the same.
He said the issues raised were the same in content and fact with another suit earlier referred to the Court of Appeal for judicial interpretation of section 135 and 137, as they relate to the tenure of the President.