2015: Will Jonathan run?

12

By Amos Dunia, Abuja

With a stroke of a pen, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of Abuja High Court in a landmark judicial pronouncement declared; “Thus, the order of injunction against the first defendant (President Goodluck Jonathan) contesting in 2015 is refused. The application for an order restraining the second defendant, PDP, from sponsoring him is refused and dismissed. Likewise, application for an order directing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to accept Jonathan if sponsored by the second defendant in 2015 is also dismissed and refused.”

Accordingly, Justice Oniyangi ruled that going by the express provision of Section 137(1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, President Jonathan is eligible to contest for the presidency in 2015. With the ruling, all ambiguities over the eligibility or otherwise on the way to President Jonathan’s second term in office and qualification to contest the 2015 presidential election were laid to rest.

Before the court ruling, the road leading to 2015 general elections looked soaked with palpable anxiety, fear, tension and worries. In spite of all these, President Jonathan remained calm and refused to be dragged into the controversies of 2015, insisting that it was too early in the life of the administration to start talking about 2015.

Be that as it may, the pursuit by majority of Nigerians from all walks of life and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to get the people’s President to declare his interest for 2015 continue to increase in momentum just as the days grew into weeks, months and years. Pointedly, the leadership of the party equally declared that it is determined to sponsor Jonathan if he so desires to contest the 2015 presidential elections.

The issues before the court for adjudication over the eligibility of the President were as interesting as they also looked complex, but with judicial wisdom, Oniyangi dissected them one after the other and by the time he was done, the plaintiff was convinced beyond reasonable doubt and within the ambit of the law, satisfied.

First, Justice Oniyangi, ruled that President Jonathan is currently on his first term of four years, adding that in that wise, if he (Jonathan) so wishes, he can seek from his political party or any other party, the sponsorship to contest in the 2015 presidential election.

The trial judge noted that in the eyes of the law, President Jonathan’s tenure commenced on May 29, 2011, as he only assumed office as President in 2010 as a result of the demise of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who contested and won the 2007 presidential election.

Taking a critical look at Section 137 of the 1999 constitution as amended, Oniyangi stressed that the germane issues for determination were; “whether the death of late President Yar’Adua and the swearing-in of President Jonathan to complete the tenure, remains a four-year tenure?”

He then asked, “Did the first defendant (Jonathan) contest the presidency for the first time in 2011? Was he ever declared and sworn-in as president in 2007? Was he the presidential candidate of the PDP in 2007?”

Oniyangi then went further to explain saying, “The distinguishing factor is that after the election of Yar’Adua, there was no election or bye-election upon which Jonathan became president but was asked to assume the position.”

Oniyangi said; “I will like to borrow the word that was used by the legislature then, ‘Doctrine of Necessity’. He was not elected into the position but was asked to assume the position. Having exhausted that tenure, he sought and obtained the ticket of the party to contest for the presidency in 2011.

“Consequently, it is my considered view that the first defendant is on his first tenure of four years. It therefore follows that if he so wishes, he can seek from his party to contest for presidential election in 2015. He is running his first tenure and can aspire to seek for nomination like any other Nigerian to contest in 2015,” he so ruled.

The court further declared that Section 137, applies only when a candidate is elected and not when he assumes the office like in the case of President Jonathan, adding that in this particular instance, the section applies to when Jonathan was elected as President and not when he took oath of office on May 6, 2010.

He further ruled; “I therefore hold that the tenure of office of the first defendant (Jonathan) did not begin on May 6, 2010 but May 29, 2011. The constitution is clear that no person shall take oath of allegiance and oath of office prescribed in the seventh schedule of the constitution more than twice except on special circumstance as witnessed in the demise of Yar’Adua.”

As a way of putting a final seal on the matter, the court, while upholding preliminary objections filed against the suit by both Jonathan and the PDP, held that the plaintiff, Mr. Cyriacus Njoku, who is also a chieftain of the PDP lacked the locus-standi to institute the action, just as he noted that the matter was pre-mature considering that Jonathan was yet to declare his intention to run for the election in 2015.

In the wisdom of the court, the provisions of Section 87 of the Electoral Act, clearly stated that only a political party has the exclusive powers to nominate or pick candidates to sponsor in any given election, a decision, he noted was a domestic affair of political parties which no court had the powers to determine.

“The plaintiff lacks locus standi and the suit is accordingly struck out,” Justice Oniyangi affirmed.

But, even as President Jonathan is yet to declare his intention, his party, the PDP may have commenced a subtle preparation for his second term in office owing to his transformation agenda that is already yielding results in the various sectors of the nation’s economy, namely; Aviation, Power, Agriculture, Infrastructural development, provision of water, Education etc.

Significantly, the leadership of the party has declared that it is not in any way afraid to drum support for the president owing to the good work he is carrying out and it was based on this premise that the National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur warned opposition parties in the country to understand that the party is fully on ground and would defeat whatever strategy they bring into play.

He said, “With a repackaged PDP, the implication is that it will enable us to effectively mobilise our members ahead of the 2015 general elections and win. We have the capacity and we have done it before and there is the track record to show for it. Most of the people in the All Progressive Congress (APC) now are original members of the PDP and I can assure that we have commenced talks to bring them back to where they originally belonged, which is the PDP. They are coming back, because some of them have told me that their aspirations may not be met in the APC because of the burning ambitions of some individual members. They don’t want a party that is being run like a cult. They are gradually commencing a return to the PDP, because the PDP is the only national party in Nigeria.”

Similarly, the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, who is known to be one of the most effective organizers and mobilisers of our time, said during the inauguration of the “PDP Women in power” calendar 2013 in Abuja, that even if 100 parties ganged up against the PDP, they will not be in a position to muster the required strength to oust the ruling party.

Owing to his humble and amiable disposition, President Jonathan has maintained a studied silence and sincerity of purpose by refusing to be dragged in the 2015 race for now in fulfillment of his promise not to overheat the polity and thereby distract his attention from the marvelous works he is carrying out for the overall good of the country, particularly with regards to the greater future he is developing for the youths which is one of his major preoccupations.

To put it in its proper context, it would not be out of place to state unequivocally that without mincing words, that when and if President Jonathan decides to declare his interest into the race for 2015, there would be no stopping him from clinching the presidential seat, as his support base, is gaining wider acceptability in spite of the fuss by the so called opposition parties ganging up in the name of merger.

Dunia, a Public Affairs analyst is a journalist based in Abuja

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12 Comments

  1. francis cole on

    You are talking rubish and lot of lies. If Jonathan contest the 2015 election, I bet you, he will surely loose. Majority of Nigerians dont want dummy and mugu leader any more. Jonathan is too weak and..lack of actions. Hes a fake Phd proffesor from..south south. Just let him go away in 2015. Hes not. fit tobe leader.

      • THANK YOU VERY MUCH TAMS.I AGREE WITH YOU 100%. WE ARE BETTER OFF WITH THE DEVIL KNOW THAN THE DEVIL WE DON’T KNOW !!.GEJ IS NOT A MAGICIAN HE CAN NOT REPAIR NIGERIA’S 35YRS DAMAGES AND NEGLET IN JUST 4 YRS,HALF A LOAF OF BREAD IS BETTER THAN NOTHING ! WHAT DID YOUR OTHER PRESIDENTS GIVE NIGERIA?.GEJ IS ONLY TRYING HIS BEST MOST ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE BOKO HARAM SITUATION,IT IS LIKE ANOTHER CIVIL WAR !.LONG LIVE NIGERIA

    • i agree with you absolutely. Jonathan is Nigeria’s dullest president / head of states ever. He celebrate his luck daily- with no clue as to how to run the Government- even Abacha is smarter and better-what a shame!

  2. samuel ukpai on

    GEJ will win.the problem of the opposition is their faulty thinking that their cohorts in lagos press will deliver all the votes.Sorry,the mases think differently.This whole fuse is spearheaded by the religious bigots of the hausa fulani and yoruba moslems.For them no other tribe /religion counts for anything

  3. Mr Judge, are you judging based on the constitution or your own considered view? “Consequently, it is my considered view that the first defendant is on his first tenure of four years”.

  4. The decision to run for Presidency is in the hands of the President.He (GEJ) knows the causes of his problems, he has solution to them but blatantly refused to shed blood for the interest of the masses and the good of this country. Mr GEJ, just send assassins to eliminate Buhari and Tinubu or seek for assistance from IBB, your problem will be solved and Nigeria will be peaceful. In asmuchas Buhari is still alive, this entity called Nigeria can not know peace.Since u know them just sacrifice some and use money to quench the thirst of the rest and you will see that Nigeria will experience peace. If IBB or OBj is on this seat, all these cock and bull stories would have being a forgotten issue. A stubborn grasshopper, listens or will find itself in the birds stomach. Gbam ! Long Long Biafran Nation.

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