2015: 20 SANs drag Jonathan to Court over Eligibility to Contest

Ahead of the 2015 general elections, over 20 senior advocates of Nigeria (SANs) have concluded plans to drag President Goodluck Jonathan to court and seek relevant legal interpretation over his legibility to contest in the presidential race.
The action of the SANs is part of a security report to be presented to Jonathan this week, said a security source, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter.
He said, “Over 20 SANs are set to take the president to court. The president will be briefed on this development this week. We hope the president will act quickly on the report.” 
It had been reported that some powerful politicians and groups in the country have assembled a team of lawyers to challenge him whenever he declares his intention to take another shot at the Presidency.
The constitution provides that a president can only serve two terms, and opposition to Jonathan’s re-election ambition argue that he has served two terms already

Checks by LEADERSHIP further show that some top politicians are waiting for the president to declare to enable them embark on the legal battle, as any move now would amount to a wild goose chase.

Consequently, Jonathan is reportedly having serious thoughts over his 2015 re-election ambition because of the constitutional obstacles in his way. Top lawyers have also started debating the issue.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “There are two constitutional provisions that are in question. The first is section 135 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, which states that no president can take the oath of office of the president of Nigeria more than twice.

“You will recall that on May 6, 2010, President Jonathan was sworn in by Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu as the fifth president of Nigeria after the death of then president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Upon winning the presidential election in 2011, he was again sworn in and took the oath of office as the sixth president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This means he has been sworn in twice already, not as acting president but with full powers as commander-in-chief.”

The contentious Section 135 (1) & (2) of the Constitution provide thus:

“(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a person shall hold the office of President until – (a) his successor in office takes the oath of office; (b) he dies whilst holding such office; or (c) the date when his resignation from office takes effect; or (d) he otherwise ceases to hold office in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. (2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the President shall vacate his office at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date, when – (a) in the case of a person first elected as President under this Constitution, he took the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of office; and (b) in any case, the person last elected to that office under this Constitution took the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of office but, for his death, has taken such oaths”.