2015: Judge's absence postpones verdict on Jonathan


Nnamdi Felix / Abuja

The inexplicable absence of Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of an Abuja High Court on Thursday stalled the scheduled delivery of the judgment in a suit instituted by a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain to prevent President Goodluck Jonathan from contesting the 2015 Presidential election.

The court had earlier scheduled to deliver its decision on the matter for today but the event was stalled as the judge was said not to be around to deliver the judgment which, P M News learnt, was ready to be delivered.

A female court official who declined to be named said the judge traveled out of the jurisdiction but could not say whether the judge was attending a conference or any other official assignment that made him to be absent from his duty post.

The President’s party chieftain, Mr. Cyriacus Njoku, was miffed with Jonathan’s statement earlier in March that he is serving his first term in office as the elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Njoku subsequently dragged him to court urging that Jonathan should be declared unfit to contest the 2015 election as he is currently serving his second term of office.

Mr. Njoku, before the present suit, had attempted to stop the President from contesting the 2011 Presidential election on the ground that Jonathan’s candidacy violated the zoning principle of their party, PDP.

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He however failed to get Jonathan disqualified as the court declined to stop the President from running for office. Jonathan went on to participate in the election and was declared winner by the Independent National Election Commission, INEC.

The President and his aides have consistently maintained that he is currently serving his first term of four years in office as the President of the federal Republic of Nigeria as provided by the 1999 constitution.

Jonathan has also emphasized that he has not indicated or announced anywhere that he would contest the presidential elections in 2015 and had described the suit against an undeclared ambition as frivolous and vexatious.

A Senior Special Assistant to the President, Mr Mattew Aikhionbare and Dr Reuben Abati, the Presidential Spokesman, both spoke in support of their principal whom, they argued is currently doing his first term of 4 years in office as the president of Nigeria as provided by the 1999.

They argued that the Nigerian constitution only makes provisions for a president to contest for not more than 2 terms of 4 years each and that their principal has not indicated or announced anywhere whether in words or in writing that he will contest for the presidential elections to be conducted in 2015.

The court official promised to contact the lawyers for a new date for the judgment to be delivered.

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