A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna said yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan is eminently qualified to contest the 2015 presidential election if he so desired and struck out a suit seeking to stop him from contesting the election.
Delivering judgement on a suit brought before the court by two chieftains of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Richard Mneaga and Shuibu Lili, Presiding Judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike also ruled that the plaintiffs lacked the locus standi to institute the case by virtue of section 308 of the constitution, which prohibited the president from sueing or being sued.
The plaintiffs, had among other things sought for an order of the court to disqualify President Jonathan from presenting himself as a
presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2015 election, and for the court to order the Independent National Electoral Commission to restrain the PDP from accepting nomination of Jonathan as its presidential candidate in the election.
The Plaintiffs had insisted in the suit which was filed on October 7, 2013, that Jonathan would have completed eight years in office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when calculated from May 29, 2007 and therefore want the court to declare that President Jonathan is not entitled to a tenure of office as President exceeding eight years calculated from 2007, as last holder of the said office”.
Justice Anyadike affirmed that President Jonathan has the constitutional right to contest for presidency in 2015 if he so desire, pointing out also that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter since the plaintiffs did not follow the due process of filing their case, saying the petition was served out of jurisdiction.
She however dismissed the case for lack of merit.
Reacting, counsel to the plaintiffs, Mohammed Ibrahim dismissed the judgement, faulting the technicalities which the judge relied upon to dismiss the case rather than looking at the matter based on its merit.
Ibrahim however said they will be heading to the judgement at the Appeal Court for further interpretation of the judgement by the lower court, adding that they will also be asking the upper court to determine whether President Jonathan has the constitutional right to seek for another term of office in 2015.
But Counsels to President Jonathan, Nnamdi Ekwem and second defendants, (PDP), Victor Kwom, hailed the judgment, describing it as another landmark victory for democracy and rule of law.