Former President Goodluck Jonathan will not be able to run for president in 2023, according to human rights lawyer Femi Falana.
He based his argument on constitutional provisions that prevent the ex-president from running for re-election.
This comes as pressure mounts on Jonathan to run for president. He is said to have finalised plans to join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to run for President.
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Falana stated in a statement that Jonathan, who served as President from 2010 to 2015, would violate constitutional term limits of two eight-year terms if he ran for president again and won.
“Dr. Jonathan is disqualified from running for president in 2023,” he said. The reason for this is that if he wins the election, he will serve another four-year term.
“This means he would serve as President of Nigeria for a total of nine years, in violation of Section 137 of the Constitution, which allows for a maximum of two eight-year terms.”
According to Falana, Jonathan cannot seek re-election to the presidency after completing the term of the late President Yar’adua and being sworn in again for a full four-year term in 2011 after winning the presidential election in his own name under section 137 (3) of the Nigerian constitution.
“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,” says Section 137 (3) of the constitution.
Falana also slammed the argument that the provision could not be applied retroactively to Jonathan.
“Some people have said that the amendment is not retroactive and thus cannot apply to Dr. Jonathan,” he continued.
“Assuming that the amendment is not retroactive, it is proposed that a President or Governor cannot serve more than two eight-year terms under the current Constitution.”
“In other words, the Constitution prohibits anyone from serving in office for more than eight years in a row.
“The Supreme Court stated in Marwa v. Nyako (2012) 6 NWLR (Pt.1296) 199 at 387 that Section 180 (1) and (2)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria prescribes a single term of four years, and if a second term is sought, another four years and not a day longer.”
“In Gov. Ladoja v INEC (2008)40 WRN 1, the Supreme Court denied Governor Ladoja’s request for an 11-month extension to cover the time he was out of office due to illegal impeachment.”