President Goodluck Jonathan has asked an Abuja High Court to dismiss a suit seeking to stop him from contesting the 2015 presidential election over claims that he is already in his second term in office, having taken the Oath of Office of President twice.
In his counter motion to the suit filed by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Cyriacus Njoku, the President has insisted that he is currently serving his first term of four years in office as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
Jonathan also told the court that he had not announced any intention to run for office in 2015.
Njoku, who said he is a registered member of the PDP in the Zuba Ward of the Gwagwalada Area Council, with registration number 1622735, had informed the court that he filed the suit after the President declared that he was currently serving his first term in office.
Citing Section 137 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, Njoku maintained that Jonathan could not swear to an Oath of Office three times, having sworn – first on May 6, 2010, while assuming the office of president after the death of late President Umaru Yar’Adua, and on May 29, 2011, after his victory in the 2011 presidential election.
The plaintiff had joined Jonathan, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission as the first, second and third defendants in the suit.
However, in his response to the suit, Jonathan maintains that he is currently serving his first term in office.
In a 15-paragraph counter affidavit deposed to by Mr. Osahon Okeaya-Inneh, a lawyer in the chambers of his lead counsel, Mr. Mr Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN, Jonathan described the suit as frivolous, saying it failed to disclose reasonable cause of action.
In his depositions before the court, Okeaya-Inneh said, “The 1st defendant is currently doing his first term of four years in office as the President of Nigeria as provided by the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“The 1st defendant’s status and position is formidably backed by the 1999 Constitution.
“The Constitution of Nigeria only makes provisions for a President to contest for not more than two terms of four years each.
“The Constitution recognises the executive president’s tenure of office to be four years.”
Okeaya-Inneh further informed the court that the suit was even made more frivolous by the fact that Jonathan had not announced an intention to run for office in the 2015 presidential poll.
Asking the court to dismiss the suit, Jonathan informed the court that the plaintiff did not attach copies of his recent tax clearance certificate from the Federal Inland Revenue Service and his PDP membership card to prove his identity.
The presiding judge of the Abuja High Court, Justice Mudashiru Onyangi, fixed April 18, 2012, to hear an application brought by Jonathan, seeking for an extension of time within which his lawyer could file his memorandum of appearance and counter affidavit in response to the plaintiff’s suit.