A group, Igbo Leadership Development Foundation, has threatened to sue former President Goodluck Jonathan who is considering joining the All Progressives Congress to run for President.
Its Vice Chairman/Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Law Mefor told the PUNCH that the group would be going to court to challenge Jonathan should he declare his intention to contest.
According to Mefor, the next President should be from the South-East region.
He argued that Jonathan had been affected by the constitutional amendment and thus had no right to contest.
He said, “I have said it before and I’m saying it again. We will go to court to challenge it if Jonathan joins the presidential race.
“What my group, Igbo Leadership Development Foundation, would test in court is whether Jonathan can be sworn in as President of Nigeria a third time despite the express constitutional provision against it.
“We are just waiting for Jonathan to pick up a political party’s nomination form and the Igbo Leadership Development Foundation will approach a court of competent jurisdiction to challenge his qualification to stand this election. I have nothing personal against Jonathan. After all, I was in his media team in 2015 but we have to do things right as a nation under the law and not as a nation of impunity.”
SaharaReporters had in several reports exposed how a cabal in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had been trying to woo Jonathan to the party and to become its consensus candidate.
Jonathan’s posters had last week flooded the national secretariat of the APC.
Some youth groups also stormed his office in the Maitama area of Abuja, calling on him to join the presidential race.
The protesters lamented that since he left office, hunger, insecurity, and unemployment, among others had become the order of the day.
The supporters said that both men and women have turned to beggars because of the unfavourable policies of the present administration.
In his response, the former President said he could not say if he would declare or not but advised his supporters to “watch out”.Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Wednesday said Jonathan cannot seek re-election into the office of the President, according to the constitution.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on June 4, 2018, signed a constitutional amendment that stops a Vice President who completes the term of a President from contesting for the office of the President more than one more time.
The law also stops a deputy governor who completes the term of a governor from seeking a second term in office as a governor.
A President’s term can be cut short by reasons of death, resignation, or death to pave the way for the Vice President to complete the term of the departed President.
Following the death of then-President Umaru Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010, Jonathan as the then Vice President, took a new oath of office to complete Yar’Adua’s term as President.
He was also sworn in for another term on May 29, 2011, after he won the presidential poll of that year.
Falana in the statement obtained by SaharaReporters on Wednesday night said Jonathan is affected by the constitution amendment.“It has been confirmed that former President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to join the All Progressives Congress (APC) with a view to contesting the 2023 presidential election.
“However, the former President is disqualified from contesting the said election by virtue of 137 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended which provides as follows: 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.”
Indeed, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No 16) Act, 2017 says: “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (in this Act referred to as “the Principal Act”) is altered as set out in this Act. Section 137 of the Principal Act is altered, by inserting, after subsection (2), a new subsection “(3)”.
“(3)” A person who was sworn in as President 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.”