Another legal duel over the eligibility of President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the 2015 presidency is set to kick off, as some House of Representatives members in the All Progressives Congress (APC) have vowed to go to court.
This is coming at a time some APC lawmakers have flagged off presidential campaign for the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal. The group known as Tambuwal for President (TFC) said at the weekend that it had endorsed the speaker for president.
Jonathan, last week, indicated his intention to seek re-election as well as setting up a team chaired by former Minister of Defence, Bello Haliru, to organise his formal declaration.
Disclosing the plan to drag President Jonathan to court, one of the APC lawmakers, Hon. Nasiru Sule Garo, representing Gwarzo/Ikabo Federal Constituency of Kano State, said the lawmakers would contest Jonathan’s eligibility in court.
He said: “People are ready to go (to court). We are just waiting for him to declare. For now, he is not a candidate; he is just being endorsed, just like during Abacha’s regime, when selfish individuals came coming out to say Abacha was the sole candidate of every other party,” he submitted.
He anchored the renewed move to stop Jonathan from contesting the Presidency on the Supreme Court’s ruling on former Adamawa State Governor, Boni Haruna, who was sworn in as governor when Alhaji Atiku Abubakar resigned as governor-elect before assuming office. The court had ruled that since Haruna contested with Atiku, as deputy governorship candidate, he was entitled to assume office as governor since they ran on joint ticket.
The lawmaker submitted: “By the Constitution of Nigeria, I don’t think the President (Jonathan) has any right for now to contest. He has been sworn in twice and our constitution says a person shall occupy office of the president for two terms of four years, which makes it eight years and this president has occupied this position for two years and he contested election and he is occupying for four years, which makes it six.
“And if he seeks re-election now, it means he is going to be sworn-in for the third term; that one too can be contested and is he going to serve for two years and then we do another election or is he going to violate the constitution and serve for four years, which would make him the president of Nigeria for 10 years? So, there are lots of questions that need to be clarified by the court before he even contests for that position.”
Garo said the Supreme Court had already made a ruling on similar matter, in the case of former Governor Haruna.
He argued: “If that is the case, remember the case of Boni Haruna. He was not elected, as the Governor of Adamawa State. He was the deputy of Atiku Abubakar and they were elected, just like Jonathan was elected with Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and he was sworn in when Atiku resigned before taking office as governor and served the four years. Boni Haruna contested in Adamawa and won an election, as the main candidate and served for four years and left office. So, that can still be contested.”
Faulting the endorsement of President Jonathan by the PDP national officers and governors, the lawmaker claimed the action was illegal. He insisted that some aggrieved PDP members, who were willing to contest for the presidential seat may also challenge Jonathan’s eligibility in the court.
The lawmaker contended that the endorsement was not different from the days of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, as the sole candidate of every political party in the country.
Giving details of the planned suit against the president, Garo said the lawmakers would ask the court if he, Jonathan, is eligible to run for Presidency and if he can be sworn in three times as well as rule the country for 10 years, against the maximum allowed in the constitution, which is eight years.
Meanwhile, House members and other Nigerians, backing Tambuwal’s rumoured presidential ambition and working as a group, have described him as the best person to steer the affairs of Nigeria.
The group said it had endorsed the Speaker because of his track record as an astute politician.
Members of the group, however, said it was not time to disclose their identities, arguing that doing such now may generate bad blood.
One of the members, who is a House member from the South-west geopolitical zone, said: “We know the stuff Tambuwal is made of and we, from the South and the North, will buy his nominatioºn form and ensure he contests.
“For now, Tambuwal has the credentials to occupy the number one spot in Nigeria, as he has proved to all that he is not a sectional leader but a complete detribalised Nigerian with a Midas touch.tweet Follow @@metrolens1