Revealed: Why Jonathan cannot be president again – Ejimakor

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Against the backdrop of numerous calls on ex-President Goodluck Jonathan to throw his hat in the ring for 2023 presidential election, a legal luminary, Bar Aloy Ejimakor, has explained why the call is dead on arrival.

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Above other things, Ejimakor said Jonathan’s candidacy would be burdened by a helluva nasty legal challenges that would significantly diminish his electability and mar his legacy.

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–Bar Aloy Ejimakor

Only a fortnight ago, some supporters had protested at Jonathan’s Abuja office, demanding that he should declare for the 2023 presidential election.

Although Jonathan told them to “just watch out” as he has not made up his mind yet, the urge for his return has been persistent.

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As if that was not enough, some youths, yesterday, in Kano, gave Jonathan a seven-day ultimatum to declare, or two million youths would storm his office and force him to do so. According to their leader, Mubashir Tafida, “economic instability in Nigeria is taking to its toll. That needs a man like Jonathan to be fixed.”

This is apart from a clergyman,  Felix Aluko, assuring that Jonathan will be returned to Aso Rock by divine mandate, if he decides to vie for the 2023 Presidential Election.

But Aloy Ejimakor who is also the Special Counsel to IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, maintained: “If you insist that Goodluck Jonathan can run for President because the 4th Alteration Act cannot be retrospective, please read the black letters of the Alteration Act again. And read it together with its Explanatory Memorandum, which is reproduced, as follows: ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 16 Act, 2017 Explanatory Memorandum): This Act alters the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to disqualify a person who was sworn-in as President or Governor to complete the term of the elected President or Governor from being elected to the same office for more than a single term’.

He continued: “In reading above Explanatory Memorandum, keep in mind that its wordings bear the best and only evidence of the legislative intendment of the Act; and be guided to focus on the copious use of the word: was (instead of is), which is also repeated in the pertinent provisions of the Act, to wit: “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,” stressing: “Thus, in plain terms and without more, the plain language of the Act disqualifies Jonathan because he was sworn-in to complete Yar’Adua’s term and was thereafter elected to the same office for a single term.

“In other words, having been elected, Jonathan shall not be elected as President for more than the single term he already enjoyed. That’s the plain meaning and intendment of the Act.

“To be clear, the retrospective (or retroactive) reach of the Act lies in the express use of the phrase: ‘was sworn-in’. If the National Assembly intended the Act to be ‘prospective’, it would have instead resorted to using the phrase: ‘is sworn-in.’

“So, the repeated and emphatic use of the phrase ‘was sworn-in’ in both the Act and its Explanatory Memorandum demonstrated a clear legislative and constitutional intent to make the Act retrospective.

“The thesis that applying the Act to Jonathan would appear that he is personally targeted is a moral question, not a legal question.

“Plus, one can argue that Jonathan is, as it were, the very mischief the Act set out to cure. That is: the mischief that lies in a Jonathan overshooting the eight years constitutional term limit if, perchance, he is elected to two terms after completing Yar’Adua’s unexpired term.

“For avoidance of doubt, the retrospective tenor of the Act received judicial approval in the recent case of Toyin v. PDP where the Supreme Court held the 4th Alteration Act to be retrospective, not prospective.

“In this very case, the apex Court retrospectively applied the sister provisions of the Act to a 2015 pre-election matter which was filed and pending long before the Act was enacted.

“In view of the foregoing, Jonathan’s candidacy would be burdened by a helluva of nasty legal challenges that would significantly diminish his electability and mar his legacy,” he concluded./SHARE THIS

  • Tags: Bar Aloy Ejimakor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, 2023 general election
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