Federal High Court rules on Jonathan elegibility suit Jan 15

Another date has been slated for the hearing of suit filled by two lawyers challenging the eligibility of President Jonathan and his vice, Namadi Sambo, to seek re-election.

A federal High Court has chosen January 15 for further hearing on the matter. The plaintiffs in their suits are asking the court for, among other things, an order restraining the INEC and the AGF from allowing Jonathan and his vice, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, to contest another election in 2015.

They are of the opinions, that by virtue of constitutional provisions, the oaths taken by Jonathan and Sambo following the death of Umaru Yar’dua in 2010 and their subsequent re-election in 2011, both of them were deemed to have completed the two terms allowed by the law.

The judge however adjourned the matter to enable him attend to other cases listed for the day. The court had heard the plaintiff’s counsel, James Ocholi (SAN), as well as the the preliminary objection and the counter affidavit filled by Nomeh in opposition to the suit on behalf of Jonathan and Sambo.

Another PDP’s counsel, Mr. Victor Kwon, was also arguing his own preliminary objection and the counter-affidavit when the judge asked him to stop and expand on his submission on January 15.

Meanwhile, the same court has fixed January 12, 2015, for ruling on an application for the transfer of a suit challenging the eligibility of President Goodluck Jonathan to seek re-election in 2015 to the Court of Appeal.

The plaitiffs to the suit filled against Jonathan and Sambo, Adejumbo Ajagbe and Olatoye Wahab, are both claiming to be presidential aspirants, seeking the referral on the ground that the suit involves, as they put it, ‘a substantial question question of law’ which the court of Apeal has to make pronouncement on as soon.

This however received some mixed reactions as the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, who is one of the two defendants in the suits numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/662/14, opposed the application which was presented before Justice Ahmed on Monday.

Through his counsel, Mr. Kenechukwu Nomeh, from the law firm of Mr. Ade Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), the AGF argued that the plaintiffs’ application for referral was a ploy to delay the hearing and the disposal of the main suit.

The attorney-general also argued that his counsel, Okeaya-Inneh was representing the President in an appeal on the same subject matter of Jonathan’s eligibility at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, ‘hence there is no need for the referral.’

The appeal referred to by the AGF was filed by Mr. Cyriacus Njoku who is challenging the judgment of Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of the Federal Capital High Court, who had earlier ruled that Jonathan was eligible to contest in 2015.

Nomeh on Monday urged the Justice Mohammed to be persuaded by the FCT High Court judgment and a similar one earlier delivered by the Kaduna Division of the Federal High Court.

But counsel for the plaintiffs, Mr. M.A Magaji (SAN), justified his client’s application on Monday, insisting that none of the respondents’ interests would be jeopardized if the matter is referred to the Court of Appeal.

Magaji maintained that in view of an earlier decision of the Supreme Court, a judge of the lower court was under obligation to refer a case to a higher court upon an application for it by a party.

The judge adjourned till January 12 for ruling.


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