Why Jonathan Cannot Run For President In 2023 – Femi Falana
Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and human rights lawyer, has said former President Goodluck Jonathan cannot run for the 2023 presidential race.
He 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).
Falana, who appeared on Channels Television programme Politics Today, said the Constitution stipulated that nobody can be sworn in more than two times.
“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,” he said.
He said some of his learned colleagues feel the provision is retrospective.
“Some of my colleagues say that provision is not retrospective which was fine. The point the law is making is that if you spend a year or two or even four, having replaced somebody who died or resigned in office or impeached, can you contest twice in a way that you spent 9,11,12 years as a governor or president, the constitution says, no. You can only spend eight years maximum that is two terms. You must spend less but not more”, he added.
He said President Jonathan completed the term of late President Yar’Adua, contested and won another term.
”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,” he said.
His comments followed speculations that the former president may defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and contest the 2023 presidential election.
Jonathan was elected President of Nigeria in the 2011 presidential election but lost to Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.