President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday told an Abuja High Court hearing a suit against his alleged 2015 re-election bid that his stay in office could legally go beyond eight years under certain conditions.
Jonathan was responding in a suit asking the court to declare him ineligible to run for re-election because that would extend his tenure beyond the maximum eight years provided by the constitution, given that he took over as President in May 2010 after the death of then-President Yar’Adua.
The case was filed by Peoples Democratic Party presidential aspirant, Mr Cyriacus Njoku, on March 20 seeking the determination of section 135 (2) and 137 (1) of the Constitution which limit presidential tenure to maximum of two terms of four years each.
Njoku is asking the court to determine whether in spite of these provisions President Jonathan can seek re-election and take a third oath of office having already taken oaths twice, first on May 6, 2010 after Yar’Adua’s death and then on May 29, 2011 after the general elections.
Yesterday, while arguing the substantive motion, counsel to Njoku, Mr Ugochukwu Osuagwu, cited the Supreme Court decision in January on General Buba Marwa and INEC where it held that no elected person can stay in office beyond an initial term of four years. This was the ruling that affected the tenure of the five governors who won re-run elections in 2008.