Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Against Jonathans’ Eligibility

By Adedayo Ogunleye, Abuja

President Goodluck Jonathan has surmounted yet another hurdle in his bid to contest in the forthcoming 2015 elections as the Supreme Court yesterday dismissed an appeal filed by Umar Ardo, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party PDP, challenging his eligibility.

A panel of the Supreme Court justices headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Mahmoud Mohammed, dismissed the appeal filed by Ardo, challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal, which stopped him from joining in the appeal challenging President Goodluck Jonathan’s eligibility to re-contest in 2015.

In dismissing the appeal, the Supreme Court ruled that the appellant had no business joining in the appeal challenging Jonathan’s eligibility as no law stopped him from participating in the just concluded convention of the party.

It would be recalled that an aggrieved party, Cyriacus Njoku, had approached an Abuja High Court in 2012, seeking to stop Jonathan from re-contesting in 2015. He prayed  the court to declare Jonathan as ineligible to contest in the 2015 presidential elections.

He raised five questions for the court to determine and sought seven reliefs, among which was an order of perpetual injunction restraining the INEC from accepting Jonathan as candidate in the 2015 presidential election.

The presiding judge, Mudashiru Oniyangi, had dismissed the suit on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it. Njoku consequently challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal, naming Jonathan, the PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission as respondents.

Ardo sought to join as plaintiff at the appeal court but was denied on ground that he did not show a reasonable interest that could have warranted his being joined in the suit. The appeal court also ruled that since he was not a party to the original ruling at the lower court, he could not be joined at the appellate court.

The court described Ardo as a busy body and meddlesome interloper for seeking to join in the case filed by Njoku.






     

     

    Unsatisfied, Ardo proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the decision.

    The CJN ruled that the substantive appeal was still pending before the Court of Appeal, and that what was before the apex court was an interlocutory appeal.

    The nation’s apex court had scheduled Tuesday, December 16, as the date for hearing Umar’s appeal in order to beat the December 18, 2014 deadline fixed by INEC for political parties to submit the names of their candidates.

    The appellant, who had sought to be joined as an interested party in the suit, had prayed for accelerated hearing of his suit, requesting for an abridgement of time to file his briefs of argument before the apex court.

     

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