Sunday Trust online

Jonathan still stands disqualified - Yahaya Mahmood

The decision of the FCT High Court on Friday that cleared the way for President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the 2015 general elections has continued to elicit reactions from lawyers.

The court ruled in a suit by Mr Cyriacus Njoku filed in March 2012.
Njoku had prayed for the court to declare President Jonathan ineligible to contest in 2015 on the basis that he could not take the oath of office of the president three times under the Nigeria Constitution.
But the presiding judge, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi held that Jonathan had not yet served two terms as substantive president hence he was eligible to contest in 2015.
But reacting to the judgment yesterday in Kaduna, Yahaya Mahmood, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), insisted that President Jonathan still stands disqualified.
“I believed that the person who went to Court has no right to be heard. Besides, it is speculative. PDP has not issued guidelines for election; President Jonathan has not declared his interest and the Constitution may be amended.  Be that as it may, with respects, on the Law and Case Law as it is, he is disqualified.
“Firstly, by Section 137(2) he has been elected to such Office on previous occasions. In 2007 because they were elected together with Late President Yar’adua, and he eventually took oath as President, without going through election, and in 2011 he had his second election.  Secondly the Supreme Court has said in Tenure Elongation Suit that the Constitution envisage two terms of 8 years only, not a day more. If he wins and leave in 2019, that’s more than 8 years.  Let’s wait for his declaration 2014, and if the Constitution will be amended”, Mahmood said.
However, another senior advocate, Sam Ologunorisa, while also reacting to the court ruling said that “the judgment was well considered. The reasoning is logical and consistent with the law”.

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