Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: We Can Sponsor Jonathan in 2015 - PDP

Abuja — THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that nothing forbids it from re-nominating President Goodluck Jonathan in the next electoral contest.

The party, which stated this on a day it urged the court to join it in a suit seeking to stop President Jonathan from seeking re-election, argued that "by the very tenor of the reliefs sought by the plaintiff, this suit questions the right of the applicant to sponsor one of its members for the 2015 presidential elections. The applicant herein seeks to protect its interest in the present action by this application."

Consequently, the ruling party, via a four-paragraph and 10-sub-paragraph affidavit filed by its National Legal Adviser, Mr. Kwon Victor, in support of its application to be joined in the matter, further argued that "having been sponsored by the applicant for the 2011 election and Jonathan being a member of the PDP, who is capable of being sponsored for the 2015 presidential election, the PDP will directly be affected by the outcome of the decision of this court one way or the other."

While PDP was defending its interest in court, 10 members of the PDP National Working Committee (NWC), who went behind the Tukur, to reinstate the sacked Adamawa State Executive Committee, apologised to Tukur, yesterday, with the chairman saying he had forgiven them.

Meanwhile, Tukur said that a stable PDP would guarantee the stability and unity of the country, which he further averred would be ensured by food security. He spoke when Ebonyi State Governor, Martin Elechi paid him a solidarity visit at the PDP National Secretariat.

PDP as defendant

To ensure that it was not hurt by the suit, the PDP approached the high court for a consequential order directing the plaintiff to

amend his originating processes with a view to reflecting PDP as a defendant in the suit.

President Jonathan had on November 21, 2012, personally challenged the court action instituted against him by a Port Harcourt-based legal practitioner, Henry Amadi, who is equally a card-carrying member of the PDP.

Amadi had in his suit wherein he also named the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as a defendant, asked the court to stop Jonathan from contesting the 2015 Presidential polls.

The plaintiff also prayed the court to direct INEC not to accept Jonathan's nomination as candidate of the PDP in 2015, contending that by so doing, Jonathan will foist illegality in the polity since the oath of allegiance and office he will take should he win, will violate the two oaths of allegiance and office stipulated by the 1999 Constitution.

Amadi's suit is similar to the one filed by another member of the PDP, Mr Cyriacus Njoku on March 20, 2012 before an Abuja High Court, to stop Jonathan on ground that he is already in his second term in office.

Though Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi had earlier concluded hearing on the first suit, however, he deferred judgment on the case indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Justice Adamu Bello who is presiding over the latter case, yesterday, fixed February 26 to entertain legal arguments from both PDP and the plaintiff regarding the joinder application.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr C.N Eke had opposed PDP's bid to be joined as an interested party in the matter, even as he told the court that he would like to formally file a preliminary objection to the application.

Jonathan fights back

Nevertheless, Jonathan had in a counter-affidavit he filed through his lawyer, Mr Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN, asked the court to strip itself of the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, insisting that the plaintiff lacks the locus to request court to stop him from contesting the 2015 presidential election.

He argued that Amadi failed to disclose reasonable cause of action and that the plaintiff's claim is hypothetical and academic.

Besides, Jonathan contended that he took the first oath of office on May 6, 2010, following the death of erstwhile President Umaru Musa Yar'adua.

He said: "The question that arises for determination is whether, having regard to the facts of this case, he is in his first or second term. In other words, given that the constitution prescribes a maximum of two terms of four years each totaling a maximum of eight years as President, is he eligible to run for re-election in 2015?

"If yes, that would mean that, if he wins, he would be in office for a period of more than eight years. On the other hand, if the answer is no that would mean that he, for no fault of his, would be constrained to serve for a period of less than eight years.

10 NWC members apologise to Tukur

In like manner, 10 members of the NWC, yesterday apologised to Tukur, saying that they were pressured to restate sacked Adamawa exco and pledge to work with him

The apology and Tukur's acceptance of same were in tandem with President Goodluck Jonathan's order that aggrieved NWC members should end the cold war among them.

Vanguard gathered, yesterday, that Tukur and other members of the NWC went into a meeting soon after Elechi's visit to the National Secretariat.

It was also gathered that members of the NWC who had returned the sacked Adamawa State PDP Executive told Tukur at the meeting that they erred by not carrying him along and taking the decision in his absence, just as he was asked to forgive them and stressed the need for them to work at the same pace and in the spirit of building the PDP for the growth and development of the country.

Present at yesterday's NWC meeting were the National Chairman, Bamanga Tukur; the Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Jaja; Acting National Secretary, Solomon Onwe; National Legal Adviser, Victor Kwon; National Woman Leader, Ambassador Kema Chikwe; National Youth leader, Garba Umar Chiza; National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha; National Organising Secretary, Abubakar Mustapha; National Treasurer, Bala Kaoje; National Financial Secretary, Elder Bolaji Akpan Anani and National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.

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