By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Former President Goodluck Jonathan is eligible to run for the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in year 2023, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba has said.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) put forward the argument in a news statement titled: “Eligibility of Former President Goodluck Jonathan to Run for the Office of President” which was issued on 11th May 2022.
Agbakoba said the question of Jonathan’s eligibility is determined by Section 137 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
As he explained, “The purpose of Section 137 (3) of the Constitution is to resolve the dilemma of a Vice President who completes the tenure of a President who dies in office.
“Such a Vice President if he decides to run for the Office of President will be eligible for one term of 4 years only. Even though ordinarily he will be entitled to two terms of 8 years.”
According to Agbakoba, the logic behind it is that if the Vice President fills the President’s void and runs for two terms, he is most likely to exceed the constitutionally prescribed maximum tenure of eight years.
The SAN pointed out that the eligibility of former President Goodluck Jonathan to run for the office of President has become a vexed issue.
He declared, “In reviewing whether he is eligible to run, I will consider strictly the legal issues. The moral and ethical questions are not for me to consider,” adding: “But the question is whether Section 137 (3) of the Constitution applies to Former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“I don’t think it applies to him because at the time Former President Goodluck Jonathan was President, Section 137 (3) of the Constitution was not in existence and there is a rule that you cannot backdate laws. Former President Goodluck Jonathan is eligible to run for the office of President.”