JUST IN: Bayelsa Court Says Goodluck Jonathan Qualified To Run For President Again

The Federal High Court sitting in Bayelsa, Yenagoa, has aligned with the submissions of some plaintiffs that former President Goodluck Jonathan is qualified to contest the 2023 presidential election again, if he so wishes.

The application was filed by Messrs Andy Solomon and Idibiye Abraham amid various opinions by several senior lawyers on his eligibility to run having served as the country’s president from 2011 to 2015 after completing the tenure of his principal, Musa Yaradua, who died in 2010 and having been sworn-in on 2007.

Femi Falana SAN had said that Jonathan would be violating the law if he runs because he cannot exceed 8 years in the office of the president.

“Dr. Jonathan is disqualified from contesting the 2023 presidential election. The reason is that if he wins the election he will spend an additional term of four years.

“It means that he would spend a cumulative period of nine years as President of Nigeria in utter breach of Section 137 of the Constitution which provides for a maximum two terms of eight years,” Falana said.

But Mike Ozekhome SAN had disagreed, saying that “It will be grossly unfair, unconstitutional, unconscionable and inequitable to deny Jonathan of the right to contest the 2023 presidential election when our extant laws and appellate court decisions permit him to.”

According to Ozekhome, the Court of Appeal in 2015 held that the oath that Jonathan took in 2010 was merely to complete the unexpired tenure of late Yar’Adua; adding that by virtue of Section 135 (2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, Jonathan only took his first oath in May, 2011.

Punch reports that the plaintiffs prayed the court to order that Jonathan is not affected by “the fourth alteration to the constitution barring Vice-Presidents who succeed their principals from serving more than one full term.”

Justice Isa Hamma Dashen ruled in favor of the plantiff’s relief on Friday.

All Progressives Congress, Jonathan and the Independent National Electoral Commission were respondents in the matter.

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