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A Federal High Court in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, will on Friday (today) rule on the eligibility of former President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the presidential election even as The PUNCH learnt on Thursday that the Presidency cabal led by the President’s influential nephew, Mamman Daura, had thrown its weight behind Jonathan.
This is coming at a time the All Progressives Congress granted the former President waiver to contest.
Speaking with one of our correspondents on Thursday evening, one of Jonathan’s aides said, “The road is now fully clear, we give God the glory.”
Another source, in a message sent to our reporter noted, “GEJ has finally been given the waiver, he will contest on Sunday.”
In an origination summons filed by Andy Solomon and Idibiye Abraham, the plaintiffs are seeking an order of the court stating that Jonathan is not affected by the fourth alteration to the constitution barring Vice-Presidents who succeed their principals from serving more than one full term.
In the suit marked FHC/YNG/CS/86/2022 which is before Justice Isa Dashen, the All Progressives Congress, Jonathan and the Independent National Electoral Commission are listed as defendants.
Apparently in a haste to ensure that judgment is delivered before the APC primary which is slated for Sunday, the plaintiffs requested an accelerated hearing via a motion ex parte.
The court granted an accelerated hearing of the suit “having regard to the nature of the suit and the reliefs sought therein.”
The court also directed the respondents to be served with the enrolment order alongside the originating summons and the defendants to file their responses.
It was learnt that after affidavits, counter-affidavits and further affidavits had been filed, Justice Dashen fixed May 27 for judgment.
Jonathan, who was elected as Vice-President alongside the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007, was inaugurated as President in 2010 following the death of Yar’Adua. In 2011, he ran for election and was again inaugurated.
In 2015, while running for another term, the courts ruled that Jonathan was eligible to contest as his first inauguration was done to complete Yar’Adua’s tenure.
However, in 2018, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), signed the fourth alteration of the 1999 Constitution which bars Vice-Presidents who succeed their principals from serving more than one full term.
However, some have argued that the new provision ought not to apply to Jonathan as the law ought not to take a retroactive effect unless it was expressly stated.
Meanwhile, it was learnt on Thursday that the Presidency cabal led by Daura, the President’s influential nephew, is supporting Jonathan to succeed Buhari.
Daura had visited Jonathan’s Abuja home on Wednesday and the two were seen shaking hands in a photo posted by Sahara Reporters.
Sources, however, told The PUNCH that Jonathan had given the condition that he would only join the race if he was endorsed by the President and supported through a consensus.
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.