Court clears Goodluck Jonathan to contest 2015 presidential election

The Federal High Court in Kaduna on Monday struck out a suit challenging the eligibility of President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the 2015 general election.

The suit, instituted by Shuaibu Lili and one other, had sought a declaration barring the president from contesting the 2015 presidential election.

Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mohammed Ibrahim, had argued that since Mr. Jonathan had been sworn twice into office as president, he has no constitutional right to contest for the post again.

He cited Sections 145, 142 and 146 of the Constitution which limits the tenure of the president and governors to a maximum of eight years.

The plaintiffs had also sought for an order to restrain the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), joined as defendant, from fielding Mr. Jonathan as its presidential candidate in 2015.

In her ruling Justice Evlyn Enya-Dike, said the plaintiffs had failed to convince the court in all the prayers they sought, and struck out the case.
She said that Mr. Jonathan was yet to obtain or declared formally his intention to contest, adding that the suit was “at best hypothetical, preemptive, speculative and mere conjunctures’’.
Ms. Enya-Dike also said that Section 308 of the Constitution insulated the President from civil and criminal actions until he vacates office, adding that the plaintiffs also lacked locus-standi to institute the case.
“The plaintiffs,’’ she said, “had failed to show that they would suffer any special damage more than any member of the public if the president contests in 2015.’’
The judge, however, did not make any declaration on whether the suit was an abuse of court process. She dismissed the case without any cost.

Reacting to the judgement, counsel to Mr. Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Nnamdi Ekwem, expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision.

On his part, Mr. Ibrahim said they would appeal the ruling, contending that there were many flaws in the judgment.