Barr Aloy Ejimakor, Sunday, said former President Goodluck Jonathan might not be eligible to contest the 2023 presidential election going by the provisions of th 4th Alteration Act.
Ejimakor, the special counsel to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wrote to THE WHISTLER that, “The Fourth Alteration, No. 16 Act, 2017 Explanatory Memorandum) alters the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to disqualify a person who was sworn in as president or governor to complete the term of the elected president or governor from being elected to the same office for more than a single term.”
He explained further that, Its wordings bear the best and only evidence of the legislative intendment of the Act; and be guided to focus on the copious use of the word ‘was’ (instead of ‘is’), which is also repeated in the pertinent provisions of the Act, to wit: ‘A person who was sworn in to complete the term for which another person was elected as president shall not be elected to such office for more than a single term’.”
According to him, “The plain language of the Act disqualifies Jonathan because he was sworn in to complete Yar’Adua’s term and was thereafter elected to the same office for a single term.
“Having been elected, Jonathan shall not be elected as president for more than the single term he already enjoyed. That’s the plain meaning and intendment of the Act.
“The retrospective (or retroactive) reach of the Act lies in the express use of the phrase ‘was sworn in’. If the National Assembly intended the Act to be ‘prospective’, it would have instead resorted to using the phrase ‘is sworn in’.
“The repeated and emphatic use of the phrase ‘was sworn in’ in both the Act and its Explanatory Memorandum demonstrated a clear legislative and constitutional intent to make the Act retrospective.
“The thesis that applying the Act to Jonathan would appear that he is personally targeted is a moral question, not a legal question.”
He however said that Jonathan might be the target of the Act. In his words, “That is: the mischief that lies in a Jonathan overshooting the eight years’ constitutional term limit if, perchance, he is elected to two terms after completing Yar’Adua’s unexpired term.
“The retrospective tenor of the Act received judicial approval in the recent case of Toyin v. PDP where the Supreme Court held the 4th Alteration Act to be retrospective, not prospective.
“The apex court retrospectively applied the sister provisions of the Act to a 2015 pre-election matter which was filed and pending long before the Act was enacted.”
He concluded that ‘Jonathan’s candidacy would be burdened by a helluva of nasty legal challenges that would significantly diminish his electability and mar his legacy’.