A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has disclosed that the Nigerian constitution has disqualified former President Goodluck Jonathan from running for the office of president in 2023.
This is coming against the backdrop of calls by various support groups calling on the former president to join the race.
Falana citing Section 137(3) of the constitution disclosed that Jonathan is disqualified from contesting for the office of the president.
“It has been confirmed that former President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to join the All-Progressives Congress, APC, to contest the 2023 presidential election,” Falana said.
“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 Umoru 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.”
Although the former president is yet to declare his interest in the presidency, there have been speculations that he may defect to the APC to contest the 2023 presidential election.
Several support groups have also asked him to run for president.