Prominent lawyer Mike Ozekhome has dismissed all reports claiming that former president Goodluck Jonathan was unfit to run for office in 2023.
Mr Ozekhome, Nigeria’s Chief Advocate, said Mr Jonathan was “constitutionally” eligible to run in the 2023 presidential election.
This comes amid speculation that Mr Jonathan may defect from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to run in the 2023 presidential election.
In a legal report released Friday, Mr Ozekhome said it would be very wrong to deny Jonathan the right to run for president in 2023 when existing laws and court decisions allow him.
“The truth of the matter is that the antagonists of Jonathan running in 2022, in their strange line of argument, are mainly relying on the above section 137(3),” Mr Ozekhome said.
“They have probably not averted their minds to sections 141 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, and section 285(13) of the same fourth alteration to the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which they are relying on.”
Mr Ozekhome also noted that the ‘opposition’ had ignored the Court of Appeals’ decision in favor of Mr Jonathan when he was challenged on the same grounds that he was unfit to run in the 2015 presidential election.
“The section 137(3) being relied upon by the antagonists was signed into law in 2018, three years after Jonathan had left office. Can he be caught in its web retrospectively?” Mr Ozekhome queried.
“It is clear that those deliberately misinterpreting the clear position of the law may be baying for Jonathan’s blood, possibly as a potential candidate who may subvert the chances of their preferred candidates.”
Despite requests from various quarters for Mr Jonathan to stand for election, Mr Falana said section 137 (3) of the Constitution prohibits the late president from running for office.
Mr Falana argued that if Mr Jonathan won the 2023 election, he would spend a total of nine years in office, violating the Constitution.
Elected as vice-president in 2007 and the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Mr Jonathan became president in May 2010 following the death of his principal, completing his term of office.
He won the 2011 presidential election, but failed to secure a second term in 2015 from Mr Buhari who is said to love him in his capacity.