2023 Presidency: Jonathan Not Qualified To Contest – Falana
Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, said yesterday (Wednesday, 27 April 2022) that former President Goodluck Jonathan was barred by the Nigerian Constitution from contesting the 2023 Presidential Election.
There have been media reports suggesting that Jonathan was seriously considering decamping from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to become the presidential flag bearer of the ruling party in 2023.
The former president had reinforced these speculations when he told supporters who had thronged his Abuja home recently to “persuade” him to run for president that he was working on something which would soon be unveiled.
But in statement on Wednesday, Falana stated that given the provision of 137 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which considers a president who had completed a term for another elected president as having served a term in office, Jonathan can no longer offer himself as a candidate for the office of the president in Nigeria.
Said Falana in the statement: “It has been confirmed that former President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to join the All Progressives Congress, APC, to contest the 2023 presidential election.
“However, the former President is disqualified from contesting the said election by 137 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended which provides as follows:
‘A person who was sworn in to complete the term for which another person was elected as President shall not be elected to such office for more than a single term.’”
It will be recalled that after the death of President Umar Musa Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010, the then Vice President Jonathan was sworn in as president to complete Yar’Adua’s term.
Then in 2011, he ran for president and won. By the provision of Section 137 (3), therefore, the extant laws of the country sees him as having served the constitutionally approved two terms as president.
When Jonathan sought re-lection in 2015, he was defeated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
What this also implies is that had Jonathan won that election, any interested party could have approached the court to demand his removal from office on the strength of this constitutional provision.
There has so far not been any reaction from Jonathan or the APC.