2023: We Must Have Nigeria Before A President, Says Jonathan


Ahead of the 2023 general elections in the country, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan has warned politicians and their parties to eschew violence, saying Nigeria must exist before having the next President.

He stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the 2022 peace conference organised by the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation.

The former Nigerian leader called on those seeking elective positions to protect Africa’s most populous nation from being destroyed.

According to him, those interested in becoming president, governors, and legislators have roles to play in preserving the nation’s democracy.

“We must have a state before you talk about having a President or a governor. If you destroy the country, then where do we need a President?” he said.

“Anybody who is interested in leadership at the level of a president, governor, senator, etc, you have the biggest stake to protect the nation.

“Both those who want to be President, governors and their supporters should first know that we need to have a nation before whoever you are supporting can emerge (into leadership position).”

Jonathan commended Nigerian youths for picking up interest in the 2023 general elections, advising them to guard against hate speech.

He identified fake news, hate speech and propaganda as the biggest threat to Nigerian democracy, calling on the citizens not to indulge in it.

The peace conference titled, “The Role of Elections in a Multi-Ethnic Context,” drew prominent personalities to the NAF Conference Centre.

Participants at the conference seek to examine the trends and threats to a peaceful election and build a multi-stakeholder consensus toward a peaceful general election.

In attendance is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjkpo, former Governor of Bauchi state, Isa Yuguda, Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto Diocese, among others.

Reject Ethnic And Religious Politics, Jonathan Advises Youths

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday urged young people to reject those trying to divide the country with ethnic and religious politics ahead of the 2023 elections.

He made the remark while giving a speech in Owerri at the 80th birthday symposium of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu.

Jonathan noted that Nigeria’s politics is steeped in ethnicity and religion “to the detriment of our country and our own collective roots. I think we need to reduce this.”

He added: “Collectively, if we work together and accommodate our differences, we can build a nation where everybody would have a sense of belonging. And everyone’s rights would be guaranteed.

“That is the way we must go – a Nigeria where justice and equality reigns.”

Why I Did Not Implement Report Of 2014 National Conference – Jonathan

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

 

Former president Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday said he did not have enough time to implement the report of the 2014 national conference.

He made the comment at the public presentation of a book ‘The National Question’ authored by Akpandem James and Sam Akpe.

Jonathan was represented at the event by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.

READ ALSO: Peter Obi Meets Leadership Of The Nigeria Labour Congress

“Whenever people say that I should have implemented its recommendations, my feeling is either those people did not understand the political environment at that time, the length of time it would take to implement the report of a conference like that or probably were just playing politics with such an important matter,” Jonathan said.

“Those knowledgeable about the processes of constitutional reforms will
know that to implement the Confab report, a number of alterations will be
made in the constitution which would require the involvement of the National Assembly and state assemblies.

“Such elaborate review couldn’t have been possible at that time because by the time the report was submitted in August 2014, we were already on the verge of a general election.

“It is also important to point out that at that time, the speaker of the House of representatives, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was a member of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had already moved out, with some members, to the opposition party.

“When you know that your parliament is under that kind of situation, it would have been imprudent on my own part to take such a precious document, which I consider as crucial to our development yearnings, to a parliament that would not give it due consideration.

“If we had a task that would require the alteration of the constitution, enactment of new laws, and amendment of some existing ones, there was no way that could have been done overnight.”

 

Read the full text of Jonathan’s address at the book launch:

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, DR. GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN GCFR, GCON, PRESIDENT FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA (2010-2015) AT THE PUBLIC
PRESENTATION OF THE NATIONAL QUESTION’, A BOOK BY AKPANDEM JAMES & SAM AKPE
ABUJA TUESDAY JUNE 28, 202

(PROTOCOLS)

I am pleased to be part of the public presentation of this special book titled ‘The National Conversation’.

I thank the authors, Akpandem James and Sam Akpe for inviting me to chair the event. I would have loved to be physically present to carry out this important function myself. Unfortunately, I had to travel abroad for an equally significant international assignment, hence my decision to assign former secretary to the government of the Federation (SGF) and former President of the Senate, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, to represent me at this event.

Once again, I commend Akpandem and Sam for this great idea of documenting the experience of the 2014 National Conference, including the intrigues, schemings, interests and the side attractions that formed part of the activities that produced the beautiful document we have as the report of the Conference.

I believe that such a historic event would continue to attract the attention of writers and historians, as a way of documenting and preserving all that went down, for the future generation.

I am pleased that this work has been put together by no less individuals than seasoned journalists who participated directly in the conference, with Mr. Akpandem James playing a key role as the media officer of the conference.

I thank them specially because they have made it easier in this book for people to understand the vision of the Confab. It is understandable that not everybody will have the time and take the pains to go through the 900 page report. This book, I believe, is therefore designed to give the
people a bird’s eye view of the document and it is being launched at the most appropriate time. A time the country is preparing for the next general elections.
I see their effort as a way of preserving this momentous national accomplishment in an engaging book, for posterity.

There is no doubt that a conference of this nature will continue to generate interests and debates with people approaching the discourse from the viewpoints of their beliefs, sectional sentiments, political orientation and ideological persuasion.

The comments, appraisal and controversy have continued, many years
after the conference. One of the questions that has been variously asked
has to do with why my administration did not implement the recommendations of the conference before leaving office.
Although I had offered reasons for this on many occasions and even addressed it in my book ‘My Transition Hours’, the concern has continued to recur. However, since this is the first major public event on the 2014 Confab after I left office, I feel obliged to offer further explanations on my thoughts on the conference.

The essence of the 2014 Confab was to encourage a healthy conversation among the populace, address the queries agitating the mind of Nigerians and mend fences, where possible. As at that time, it was obvious that the ethnic nationalities were singing discordant tunes on the state of the nation and future of the country. The widening fault lines posed a clear threat to the stability and existence of our dear nation.

In responding to the yearnings of the people, my administration inaugurated the conference to provide the opportunity for Nigerians to discuss their issues and agree on the way forward.

My message to the conference was very clear; that they could discuss everything, save for the sovereignty of our great country, Nigeria. I believe, like most Nigerians, that we are better off as one united country.
The ethnic diversity and population of our great country can be deployed to enhance our economic development and our relevance in the global scheme of things. On the contrary, disintegration into smaller fragments will diminish the status of our people and their standing in the world.

As a show of concern and demonstration of goodwill of our administration, my charge to the conference was to discuss matters comprehensively and exhaustively before agreeing on a common point. I implored the members not to rely on simple majority if they must vote on any issue but a convincing approval by no less than 75 percent of the members, before passing any decision. I am happy that most of the resolutions reached were not through voting but by overwhelming consensus.

That showed that the conference tried to mend fences and create a common focus for the country.

As the chairman of this event, I will not take too much time because I know that the guest speakers and the reviewers will have all the time to ventilate the issues. It is their day. However, I would be remiss in my duties if I do not use this unique opportunity to address this particular issue which some people continue to raise on the implementation of the Confab report.

Whenever people say that I should implemented its recommendations, my feeling is either those people did not understand the political environment at that time, the length of time it would take to implement the report of a conference like that or probably were just playing politics with such an important matter.

Those knowledgeable about the processes of constitutional reforms will
know that to implement the Confab report, a number of alterations will be
made in the constitution which would require the involvement of the National Assembly and state assemblies.

Such elaborate review couldn’t have been possible at that time because by the time the report was submitted in August 2014, we were already on the verge of a general election.

It is also important to point out that at that time, the speaker of the House of representatives, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was a member of my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had already moved out, with some members, to the opposition party.

When you know that your parliament is under that kind of situation, it would have been imprudent on my own part to take such a precious document, which I consider as crucial to our development yearnings, to a parliament that would not give it due consideration.

If we had a task that would require the alteration of the constitution, enactment of new laws, and amendment of some existing ones, there was no way that could have been done overnight.

We were also fully aware that, for the segments of our population that were already suspicious of all the actions of government, our intentions could have been misread, especially against the backdrop of the ECOWAS protocol on constitutional reforms which states that no substantial modification shall be made to the electoral laws of member states in the last six months before elections.”

When I contested the 2015 elections, my expectations was that I would win a second term within which period I would have worked for the implementation of the Confab report. I felt that within the next four year mandate, my first two years would have been dedicated to implementing a reasonable part of the recommendations.

If we take politics out of our national calculations, we would all agree that
with a fresh government it would have been easier to achieve the implementation of the report. One of the problems of this country is that we like playing politics with things that have very much to do with national interest. We play politics with our security. We play politics with our economy. We play politics with almost everything. That, definitely, is not the way to go, if we must make progress in realising our national
aspirations and goals.

May God bless the soul of Justice Idris Kutigi, chairman of the Conference, who died in 2018. However, the Vice Chairman Professor Bolaji Akinyemi and other members who are still alive can testify that I never interfered with any decision of the conference. I can recall a
particular incident when the chairman and his vice approached me for my guidance on a pressing matter before them, but I bluntly told them to figure it out themselves.

I reminded them that, apart from the representatives of the youths, human rights and student groups, most of the members of the conference, up to 60 per cent of them, were older and even more
experienced than myself. I encouraged them to deploy their vast experience to execute the assignment without interference.

In closing, I implore our citizens to realise that the 2014 Conference was
neither about me nor what my administration stood to gain from it at that time. It was all for the good of our country, our children and our grandchildren.

I plead with Nigerians not to play politics with the 2014 Conference report. I believe that at the appropriate time, the country through a dedicated parliament will do the right thing. And the right thing is to duly and dispassionately consider the report of the conference with a view to implementing the recommendations for the good of the country.

I thank you all.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan Appointed To ECAM Council

A file photo of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has made history by becoming the first sub-Saharan African leader to be appointed to the International Advisory Board of the European Corporate Council on Africa and the Middle East, also known as the ECAM Council.

The ECAM Council is a non-profit organisation established with the purpose of promoting and developing relations between the countries of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the North Africa region.

News of the appointment was announced in a statement on Wednesday by the special adviser to the former president, Ikechukwu Eze.

Also appointed to the advisory board were the former Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair, and former European Commission President, José Barroso, among others.

Read the full statement by Eze below:

Former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been appointed to the international advisory board of the European Corporate Council on Africa and the Middle East (ECAM Council).

By this appointment, Dr. Jonathan becomes the first sub-Saharan African leader to serve on the board of the ECAM Council, a non-profit organisation established with the purpose of promoting and developing relations between the countries of Europe, Africa, and the MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) region, with Italy playing a leading role.

Other members of the Advisory board are Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister, José Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission, Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Secretary-General GCC Gulf Cooperation Council, and Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission (AUC).

A letter from ECAM Council to the Office of Dr. Jonathan informing him of the appointment stated: “For your information, the Chairman of ECAM Council Dr. Kamel Ghribi is well acquainted with Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. We are setting up an international advisory board of ECAM Council and Dr. Ghribi would be delighted to welcome him on board.”

It noted that the Council was “founded with the purpose of developing realistic, effective and long-lasting solutions for more sustainable healthcare systems, with a special focus on the common issues affecting the Southern hemisphere of the globe.”

Dr. Jonathan will be attending this year’s ECAM Council’s high-level advisory board meeting holding in Italy on 30th May.

Every year in Italy, ECAM Council hosts a summit, in cooperation with The European House – Ambrosetti. It brings together a selected group of heads of state, government ministers and heads of multi-lateral agencies and focuses on long-term investment and international partnerships in healthcare and infrastructure, as well as the contribution of the private sector in creating strategic hubs in the African continent.

Ikechukwu Eze

Special Adviser to H.E. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

Wonder Of The World If Jonathan Joins APC, Says Umahi

Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, addresses State House correspondents in Abuja on May 10, 2022.
Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, addresses State House correspondents in Abuja on May 10, 2022.

 

Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi on Tuesday described the possibility of former President Goodluck Jonathan joining the All Progressives Congress as another wonder of the world.

He made the comment while speaking to State House correspondents in Abuja after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

A Northern Coalition on Monday had the purchases the APC’s nomination and expression of interest forms for former President Goodluck Jonathan.

READ ALSO: I Did Not Beg To Pay N100m APC Nomination Form Fee, Says Tunde Bakare

But Jonathan later rejected the forms, saying he did not authorise the purchase.

Umahi on Tuesday wondered how the APC would align its policies and promises if Jonathan, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, clinches the ruling party’s presidential ticket.

He added that it would be a material for the World Guinness Book of Records if such an event materialises.

Northern Coalition Purchases APC Presidential Forms For Jonathan

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

 

A coalition of Northern groups on Monday arrived at the International Conference Centre in Abuja to purchase the All Progressives Congress’ presidential nomination and expression of interest forms for former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Sporting fez caps with the inscription ‘run Jonathan run’, members of the coalition said Jonathan is the most qualified to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.

Although Jonathan isn’t a member of the APC, speculations have intensified in recent weeks that he is set to switch from the Peoples Democratic Party to contest for President in 2023.

READ ALSO: Group Purchases APC Presidential Forms For Senate President Lawan

Addressing calls for him to contest in April, Jonathan had told a crowd of supporters to “watch out”.

“Yes, you are calling me to come and declare for the 2023 presidency, yes I can’t tell I am declaring; the political process is ongoing, just watch out,” he said at the time.

If elected as President again, Jonathan can only serve for one term of four years, according to the constitution.

He was first elected in 2011 after completing the tenure of his former boss, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

President Buhari defeated Jonathan in the 2015 presidential elections.

‘He Was A Soldier Of Truth’: Jonathan Eulogises Yar’Adua 12 Years After

A photo combination of former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Usman Musa Yar’Adua.
A photo combination of former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Usman Musa Yar’Adua.

 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday paid a tribute to his former boss, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Yar’ Adua was elected Nigeria’s President in 2007 with Jonathan as Vice President.

The former succumbed to illness on May 5, 2010, allowing Jonathan to replace him as President.

“Twelve years ago, our nation lost a patriot, a selfless leader and a peacemaker who governed with sincerity and passion for the people,” Jonathan said in a statement published via his verified Facebook page.

READ ALSO: Jonathan No Longer The Best Candidate For President In 2023 – Atedo Peterside

“President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua is no longer with us today, but his strides in public life continue to testify for him and keep his memory alive.

“Like a good athlete, he ran with passion, kept the faith and finished the race. Today we can look back and say, as President he won laurels for us in terms of peace and other worthy causes he successfully pursued.

“He was a soldier of truth, committed to justice, equity and other democratic virtues. He was a servant leader and a good man; the type that is hard to find.

“He was my boss.

“President Yar’Adua, we remember you today and will continue to remember the good works that you did in our nation. Yours is a story of patriotism, a life well-lived in service to the people and humanity.”

Jonathan No Longer The Best Candidate For President In 2023 – Atedo Peterside

 

Nigerian entrepreneur and economist, Atedo Peterside, on Thursday said parties thinking of fielding Goodluck Jonathan as their candidate will be doing so in the face of damning data.

He made the comment while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily amid speculations that the former President may defect to the All Progressives Congress and contest for President in 2023.

Mr Peterside said although he voted for Jonathan in 2011, his approval ratings have since gone down and the job description for a Nigerian President has evolved.

“You know again that I am a data person and I’m sorry, I cannot change who I am,” Mr Peterside said.

READ ALSO: Fayemi Joins Presidential Race, Unveils Agenda

“Goodluck Jonathan, I was on his economic team, I worked with him, I was also on Yar’Adua’s economic team.

“Let me use the data, I said in 2011, Goodluck Jonathan had a 54% approval rating and by 2015 before election, it had collapsed to below 26%, the recent poll I saw, not done by us because we don’t waste time on things that are not all that relevant, his approval rating was below 5%.

“So everybody is free to ignore data and come out and do anything they want to do. In fact, I hope that the APCs of this world would make a mistake and bring out people whose approval ratings are very low. You cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

“He was the best candidate, I voted for him in 2011, that was a different era, that was a totally different era. The skill set, the gravity of the problem, the coverage required, it is a totally different job. Time does not stand still. But please, let parties ignore data and bring out anybody they like. Everybody should run the party the way they want to run their party. I have no say in APC, I have no say in PDP, I mean, I joined SDP just this week, I have a bit of a say but I’m not even a party officer.

“I’m in a chapter; the chairman of my state chapter is a lady who is below 35. You know, these are young people that have come in en masse because they don’t want APC, they don’t want PDP and I’m following them.”

 

Goodluck Jonathan Constitutionally Qualified To Run For Presidency – Ozekhome

A file photo of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

 

Human Rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome has said that former President Goodluck Jonathan, is constitutionally qualified to run for president.

While Jonathan has not declared any intention to run, there have been speculations of his plan to join the race for the top job.

Quoting portions of the Constitution, Ozekhome stated on Friday that if the former president decides to join the race, he is constitutionally permitted to do so.

Read Also: VIDEO: Why Jonathan Can’t Run For Presidency – Falana

See full statement below.

BY CHIEF MIKE OZEKHOME, SAN, OFR, FCIARB, LL.M, Ph.D, LL.D.

INTRODUCTION

Nigeria is a country of one major news item per day. At times, one scandal per day. The hot issue in the polity currently generating national ruckus, hoopla and bedlam is the presumed intention of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to run for the 2023 presidency. I have carefully read the many arguments of those (I call them antagonists) who believe that Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is disqualified from contesting the 2023 presidential election. According to them, he had already done two terms of 4 years each and will thus be ineligible to contest for a third term. They cite the Fourth Alteration (No 16) Act, which was signed into an Act by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 11th of June, 2018. The section they are relying on is section 137(3) of the said Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution, which provides that “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”.

THE ANTAGONISTS ARE DEAD WRONG IN THEIR LEGAL POSTULATIONS

The truth of the matter is that the antagonists of Jonathan running in 2022, in their strange line of argument, are mainly relying on the above section 137(3). They have probably not adverted their minds to the provisions of sections 141 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended; and section 285(13) of the same Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the very Alteration they are relying on. More revealing is that these antagonists are probably not aware of an extant and subsisting Court of Appeal decision where Jonathan was frontallly confronted and challenged before the 2015 presidential election, with the same ground of being ineligible to contest the said 2015 election, having allegedly been elected for two previous terms of office. The very section 137(3) being relied upon by the antagonists, was signed into law in 2018, three years after Jonathan had left office; and 7 years after he took the oath of President upon Yar’Adua’s demise. Can Jonathan be caught in the web of section 137(3) retrospectively? We shall see that anon.

 

The case of Jonathan running had been challenged in CYRIACUS NJOKU V GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN (2015) LPELR-244496 (CA). In that case, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, held that President Goodluck Jonathan had only taken the oath of office once and therefore upheld his eligibility to contest the then Nigeria’s presidential election slated for March 28, 2015.

The intermediate court held that the oath of office President Jonathan took in 2010 was merely to complete the “unexpired tenure” of late President Umar Yar’Adua, who had died while in office as President.

The appeal had been lodged before the court by one Cyriacus Njoku, who had challenged the ruling of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which on March 1, 2013, had dismissed the suit he filed to stop President Jonathan from contesting the 2015 polls.

In the lead judgement delivered by Justice Abubakar Yahaya, the full panel of the court unanimously held that President Jonathan had only spent one term in office as President, going by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.

Recall that the then Vice President Jonathan had been empowered as Acting President on February 9, 2010, following a motion for operation of the “doctrine of necessity”, by the Senate, owing to the protracted stay of late President Umaru Yar’Adua in Saudi Arabia on medical grounds.

When President Yar’Adua eventually died on May 5, 2010, Jonathan was sworn in as president to serve the unexpired residue of office of Yar’Adua. Jonathan was later elected President in 2011 for the first time, on his own merit, after he contested the election.

Mr. Njoku had contended in his suit that Jonathan had already taken the oath of office and allegiance twice and therefore, should be disqualified from contesting the 2015 election, as any victory he secured would amount to being sworn in thrice.

However, the Court of Appeal held that the oath that Jonathan took in 2010 was merely to complete the unexpired tenure of late Yar’ Adua; adding that by virtue of Section 135 (2)(b) of the 1999 Constitution, Jonathan only took his first oath in May, 2011; and not May 5, 2010, when he succeeded late Yar’ Adua. The Court of Appeal further held that disqualification is through election, not oath-taking.

The intermediate court’s luminous judgement read in part:

“In this appeal, it is not controverted by the appellant that the first oath taken by the first defendant (Jonathan) was the oath he took as the Vice President and not as President… But he took the oath in May 2010 to complete unexpired tenure of late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Section 37(1)(b) disqualifies a person from contesting for president if he had been elected twice. Disqualification is through election and not oath taking. Election is a process of choosing a person to occupy a position by voting. When election is given its literal meaning, it connotes when a voting is employed to choose a person for political office. This did not take place when Jonathan stepped into the shoes of his Principal who went to the great beyond. To say these things were done is to import words not used by the constitution.‎ Section 146(1) of the constitution cannot be deemed an election for a VP to step into the office of a President. Election involves conducting primaries by party, nomination, election and announcement of results. All these processes were not done. If a VP succeeds a President that dies, that cannot be challenged. It is a mode of stepping into the vacant office provided for by the constitution. When a President dies, the Vice President automatically becomes President as provided for by S130 (1)(2) of the 1999 constitution… It was not election that produced the first respondent in May 2010, the oath he took then was not an oath of elected President as provided for by Section 180 of the constitution. The process of election was followed in 2011. The oath of office taken in 2011 was the first oath taken by the first respondent as an elected President having fulfilled all the process of election.… Again, the succession of a Vice-President to the office of a President who died, in accordance with Section 146(1) of the 1999 Constitution, cannot be “deemed an election”, especially for the purpose of taking away a right that has been vested. As stated earlier, an election under the 1999 Constitution involves primaries, nominations, voting and declaration of results. That is the mode prescribed in electing a President, and once it is so prescribed, it must be followed, and no other method can be employed. All these processes can be challenged in a Court of law and if successful, the election would be annulled. But if a Vice-President succeeds a President who died, that cannot be challenged because it is a Constitutional provision, and the succession cannot be annulled. It is a mode of assumption to the office of the demised President, an ‘appointment’ by the Constitution, as it were, as no letter of appointment is necessary from anybody. The Vice-President automatically becomes the President, by virtue of his being the Vice-President. An example can be found in Section 130(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution.” Per ABUBAKAR DATTI YAHAYA, JCA (Pp 40 – 41 Paras E – D)

The Court of Appeal further upheld the decision of the lower court which had dismissed Mr. Njoku’s suit for lack of locus standi. It noted that “it is fundamental that where a party lacks locus, the court cannot assume jurisdiction….We agree with the lower court that the appellant has no locus to sue”.

On the question of the cause of action, the court held that the case of the appellant was “speculative and imaginary as none of the reliefs he sought accrued to him any benefit”.

Indeed, the Court of Appeal had awarded the sum of N50, 000 each as cost to the defendant, President Jonathan.

DID PRESIDENT JONATHAN SATISFY THE PROVISIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE ELECTORAL ACT WHEN HE SUCCEDED YAR’ADUA IN MAY, 2010?

For a candidate to be declared elected winner, he must have participated in all the stages of the election. These are the words of section 385(13) of the Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution and section 141 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended. They provide that “an election tribunal or court shall not under any circumstance declare any person a winner at an election in which such a person have not fully participated in all the stages of the said election”.

Surely, when President Jonathan in May, 2010 stepped into the shoes of late President Yar’Adua, he merely fulfilled constitutional provisions. He did not and could not have participated in all stages of the election such as to be deemed to have been a candidate. It was not an election, but the “doctrine of necessity”, that made him President. In the eye of the law therefore, Jonathan never contested any election. See the cases of MODIBBO V. MUSTAPHA USMAN & ORS (2020) NWLR (Pt 1712)470 (SC); OZOMGBACHI V. AMADI (2028) LPELR-45152 (SC); CPC V. OMBUGADU (2013) LPELR-21007 (SC); PDM & ANOR V. INEC (2020) 17 NWLR (Pt 1753) 303 (SC).

NO ONE IS ASKING FOR TENURE EXTENSION FOR JONATHAN

The case of SENATOR RASHIDI LADOJA V. INEC (2007) 12 NWLR (Pt 1047)119 (SC) is quite distinguishable from the Jonathan scenario. The Supreme Court held in that case that neither it nor any other court has the power to extend the period of four years prescribed for a Governor of a state beyond the terminal date of either 4 years or cumulative 8 years.

This also accords with the case of MARWA V. NYAKO (2012) 6 NWLR (Pt 1296) 199 (SC), where the apex court described the time fixed by the Constitution for doing anything as “immutable, fixed as the rock of gibrata  which cannot be extended, elongated, expanded, or stretched beyond what it states”. See also section 180(1),(2) and (3); and section 182 (1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution.

Indeed, in dealing with the amendment of July, 2010, in section 180(2) (2A), the Supreme Court again kicked against retrospectivity in the same MARWA V. NYAKO (supra), when, coram Adekeye, JSC, it declared: “The amendment of July, 2010, is not meant to be retrospective as the event in this appeal occurred in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The amendment has not changed the law, but is merely a clarification to the existing provision”

RETROSPECTIVITY OF LEGISLATION

Aside Jonathan being completely cleansed of the virus of ineligibility to contest the 2023 presidential election by the still extant Court of Appeal decision in Njoku’s case, as Naaman the leper was, after dipping himself in the River Jordan seven times, Jonathan is also aided by the golden canon of interpretation to the effect that an enactment does not operate retrospectively or retroactively to take away from citizens, enured and vested rights.

We may now ask the question: What is the effect of Buhari signing into law section 137(3) of the Fourth Alteration to the 1999 Constitution in 2018? The answer is found in section 2 of the Interpretation Act which provides that:

“1. An Act is passed when the President assents to the Bill for the Act, whether or not the Act then comes into force;

  1. Where no other provision is made as to the time when a particular enactment is to come into force, it shall, subject to the following subsection, come into force
  2. In the case of an enactment contained in an Act of the National Assembly, on the day when the Act is passed;

 

  1. In any other case, on the day when the enactment is made”.

It is, therefore, clear from section 2 of the Interpretation Act that section 137(3) of the Fourth Alteration to the Constitution took effect from 11th June, 2018, when President Muhammadu Buhari assented to it, and not earlier. Section 137(3) is anchored on section 318(4) of the 1999 Constitution which provides that, “the Interpretation Act shall apply for the purposes of interpreting (its) provisions”.

Section 137(3) is one piece of legislation that can be termed retrospective or retroactive legislation, and it is frowned upon.

On retrospectivity of legislation, the apex court, coram Justice Kekere-Ekun, J.S.C, held in the case of SPDC V. ANARO & ORS (2015) LPELR-24750(SC) at (Pp. 64 paras. B), thus:

“There is a general presumption against retrospective legislation. It is presumed that the legislature does not intend injustice or absurdity. Courts therefore lean against giving certain statutes retrospective operation. Generally, statutes are construed as operating only in cases or on facts, which come into existence after the statutes were passed unless a retrospective effect is clearly intended. It was held inter alia, in: OJOKOLOBO VS ALAMU (1987) 3 NWLR (Pt.61) 377 @ 402 F-H that it is a fundamental rule of Nigerian law that no statute shall be construed to have a retrospective operation unless such a construction appears very clearly in the terms of the Act or Law; or arises by necessary and distinct implication. See also: Udoh Vs O.H.M.B. (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt.304) 39 @ 149 F – G; ADEGBENRO VS AKINTOLA (1963) All NLR 305 @ 308.”

Similarly, in ALEWA V. SOKOTO STATE INEC (2007) LPELR-8388(CA) (PP. 32 PARAS. A), the Court of Appeal, per Ariwoola JCA (as he then was), held thus:

“It is however settled law that, unless the law makers expressly state otherwise, a statute operates prospectively but not retrospectively. It is a cardinal principle of English Law that no statute shall be construed to have retrospective operation unless such a construction appears very clearly in the terms of the Act, or arises by necessary and distinct implications. The position is the same in this Country. In OLANIYI VS. AROYEHUN (1991) 5 NWLR (pt 194) 652, the Supreme Court held that:- “A construction like other statutes operates prospectively and not retrospectively, unless it is expressly provided to be otherwise. Such legislation affects only rights which came into existence after it has been passed.” See also; CHIEF C. ODUMEGWU OJUKWU VS. CHIEF OLUSEGUN OBASANJO & ORS. (2004) 7 SCM 53 at 93; AFOLABI & ORS. V. GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE (1985) 2 NWLR (pt 9) 734; OJOKOLOBO VS. AREMU (supra);

ADESANOYE V. ADEWOLE (supra) at 147 B-C & D-E; West v. Gwyne (1911) 2 CH 1; A.G. Federation v. A.N.P.P. (2003) 15 NWLR (844) 600 at 648 G -H; SA’AD V. NYAME (2004) All FWLR (201)1678; EGUNJOBI V. FRN (2012) LPELR-15537(SC), (PP. 34-35 PARAS. F); ADEGBENRO V. AKINTOLA (1963) 2 SCNLR 216; ADESHINA V. LEMONU (1965) 1 All NLR 233; THE SWISS AIR TRANSPORT CO. LTD V. AFRICAN CONTINENTAL BANK LTD (1971) 1 All NLR 37; ATTORNEY GENERAL EAST CENTRAL STATE V. UGWUH (1975) 5 SC 13″.

 

Indeed, section 4(9) of the Constitution strips the NASS “in relation to any criminal offence”, the power to “make any law which shall have retrospective effect”. Though this section specifically deals with criminal offences, judicial decisions clearly show that it operates with equal force to civil matters.

Thus, in MODU V. FRN (2016) LPELR-40471 (CA), the intermediate court held that:

“The argument that the Interpretation Act applies to civil legislations only is not only untenable but flawed. A legislation is a legislation and there is nothing in the Interpretation Act to indicate that it only applies to civil and not criminal legislations”. Per YARGATA BYENCHIT NIMPAR, JCA (Pp 18-18 Paras C-E)

CONCLUSION

For those who were too young to know that Jonathan left office since May 29, 2015, the oath of office and oath of allegiance which he subscribed to in 2015 were taken prior to the enactment of section 137(3) of the Constitution in 2018. Consequently, as held in MODU V. FRN (supra), all rights, duties, obligations and interests created under section 137 (3) are inapplicable to his rights, duties and obligations which had accrued to or enured in him before the said enactment.

Thus, the court held in the case of the ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION V. ALL NIGERIAN PEOPLES PARTY (ANPP) & 2 ORS. (2003) 15 NWLR (Pt. 844) 600 @ pages 648-649, paras. E-B, that:

“A statute is deemed to be retrospective where it takes away any vested right acquired under existing laws or creates a new obligation or imposes a new duty or attaches a new disability in respect of transactions or considerations already past… Based on the presumption that a legislature does not intend what is unjust, the courts have always leaned against giving statutes a retrospective effect and usually regard them as applying to facts or matters which came into existence after the statutes were passed unless it is clearly shown that a retrospective effect was intended by the legislature. In the instant case the constitution came into being on 29th May, 1999 and all rights, liabilities and privileges as contemplated by the circumstance of the arose as of that day. Consequently, its provisions can only be read prospectively.”

Furthermore, the court held at page 649, paras. C-D; 661-662, paras. F-C; 665, paras. A-B as follows:

“One of the cardinal principles of interpretation of statutes is that no rule of construction is that a retrospective operation is not to be given to a statute so as to impair an existing right or obligation otherwise that as regards matters of procedure, unless that effect cannot be avoided without doing violence to the language of the enactment…”.

The court nailed it when it held at page 667, paras. C-D that:

 

“A constitution, like other statutes, operates prospectively and not retrospectively unless it is expressly provided to be otherwise. Such legislations affect only rights which came into existence after it has been passed.”

A cursory examination of the various provisions of the Constitution and all the appellate court decisions cited above make it crystal clear that the speculated disqualification of Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is grossly misconceived by the antagonists, as the Constitution must be progressively and not retrogressively construed; prospectively and not retrospectively interpreted. More significantly, the Alteration Act itself does not make any express provision that the said inserted sub-section 137(3) would operate retrospectively. To that extent, the principle of expressio unius est exclusio alterius (the express mention of one thing is the exclusion of others) applies here. See MADUMERE & ANOR V. OKWARA & ANOR (2013) LPELR-20752(SC).

It is clear that those deliberately or erroneously misinterpreting the clear position of the law may be baying for Jonathan’s blood, possibly as a potential candidate who may subvert the chances of their preferred candidates. I do not view issues from such narrow ad homine prism and blurred binoculars. It will be grossly unfair, unconstitutional, unconscionable and inequitable to deny Jonathan of the right to contest the 2023 presidential election when our extant laws and appellate court decisions permit him to. The question of whether Jonathan really needs to subject his glittering credentials and internationally acclaimed reputation to the muddy waters of a fresh competition with persons, some of whom were his personal appointees as president, is another matter altogether. Only him, and not the present state of the laws in Nigeria, can answer that question and decide his own fate. But, as regards his eligibility to contest, Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is pre-eminently constitutionally, morally and legally qualified to contest the 2023 presidential election. So, run, run, run, GEJ, if that is your wish and desire. Goodluck to Goodluck.

VIDEO: Why Jonathan Can’t Run For Presidency – Falana

 

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Thursday said that former President Goodluck Jonathan cannot run for the 2023 presidential race.

In a statement, Falana said Jonathan cannot contest the 2023 presidential election by virtue of Section 137 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“It has been confirmed that former President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to join the All Progressives Congress, APC, to contest the 2023 presidential election,” the statement partly read.

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A file photo of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

 

“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.

“Some people have said that the amendment is not retrospective and therefore cannot apply to Dr. Jonathan. Assuming without conceding that the amendment is not retrospective, it is submitted that under the current Constitution a President or Governor cannot spend more than 2 terms of 8 years. In other words, the Constitution will not allow anyone to be in office for more than a cumulative period of 8 years.

“It is not in dispute that Dr. Jonathan became the President of Nigeria in 2010 following the sudden death of President Umaru Yaradua. He later contested and won the 2011 presidential election. Having spent 5 years in office as President, Dr. Jonathan is disqualified from contesting the 2023 presidential election.

“The reason is that if he wins the election, he will spend an additional term of 4 years. It means that he would spend a cumulative period of 9 years as President of Nigeria in utter breach of Section 137 of the Constitution which provides for a maximum two terms of 8 years.”

His comments followed speculations that the former president may defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Jonathan was elected President of Nigeria in the 2011 election but lost to Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

‘Run For President’, Protesters Storm Jonathan’s Abuja Office

Protesters stormed the private office of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on April 22, 2022.

 

Protesters on Friday stormed the private office of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja with a call to declare his interest to contest the presidential election next year.

This comes about 10 months before the general elections are to be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

INEC said the presidential election would take place on February 25, 2023, in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act.

The protesters comprising men, women, and youths believe the former President is the man for the job and want him to join the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari when he completes his second term in office in May 2020.

Supporters carry placards asking former President Goodluck Jonathan to join the 2023 presidential race in Abuja on April 22, 2022.

 

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Armed with placards and leaflets with various inscriptions such as “We need you to restore Nigeria” and “GoodLuck Jonathan, you must run,” they said the former President has the template to restore Nigeria’s pride of place and give its citizens a sense of belonging.

The group lamented that the people were deceived by those who promised to secure the nation, improve its economy, and fight corruption, among others in 2015.

They, however, sought forgiveness from Jonathan whose administration they said was better compared with what the country presently has.

The protesters believe former President Goodluck Jonathan is the right man for the job.

 

Former President Jonathan, in his response, was reported to have affirmed that he has yet to declare his interest to join the race.

He was said to have informed the protesters that the process to declare for the 2023 presidency was ongoing and promised to carry them along.

The solidarity march by the protesters comes a day after another group – The Nigerian Young Professionals in Diaspora (NYPD) threatened to sue the former President.

They vowed to take the action should Jonathan fail to join the presidential race at the end of the one-week ultimatum issued to him.

2023 Elections Will Come And Go, Nigeria Will Remain – Jonathan

 

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, former President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday allayed fears of Nigeria’s disintegration, saying the country will still remain.

He stated this during the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)’s Council of the WISE strategic retreat and planning workshop which held in Lagos.

“When elections are coming, there is always this fear that the country will implode. But you see that the country has remained stable,” he said.

“When I was in office, (during) the 2015 elections, some people were sending words out of the country, but nothing happened at the end of the day. So 2023 will come and go and this country will remain.”

The former Nigerian President also expressed confidence in ECOWAS ability to solve the numerous challenges confronting the sub-region.

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

 

There has been series of coups in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso and some other West African countries leading to sanctions from the regional bloc as well as the African Union.

But Jonathan, who chairs the forum, reiterated the commission’s determination to restore peace in the troubled countries.

“The tasks ahead of us may seem dauting given the current challenges in our sub-region but it is not insurmountable. I implore all of us to give the assignment her best shot.

“We will be seen to have done justice to this assignment if we succeed in catalysing processes towards institutionalizing systems that will deepen democracy, people-oriented governance and sustainable growths in our sub-region.”

This is the first-ever non-state structure that forms part of the council’s peace and security architecture with Jonathan expressing confidence that the region can surmount its challenges.