A suit seeking to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from contesting the presidential election in 2015 will proceed after a bid by the Peoples Democratic Party to settle the matter out of court failed.
The suit, which was filed before an Abuja High Court by a PDP member in the Zuba Ward of Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Cyriacus Njoku, has Jonathan, the PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission as the first, second and third defendants respectively.
Njoku is asking the court to stop Jonathan from seeking another term in 2015 on the grounds that he is already in his second term in office, having taken the Oath of Office as President twice.
When the matter initially came up on April 18, 2012, the court, presided by Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, adjourned the matter to May 30, 2012, to receive the report of the out-of-court settlement proposed by the PDP.
The court was told that PDP leaders in the Zuba Ward had approached Njoku to stay action in the case to enable the party to settle the matter out of court.
The plaintiff agreed with the proposal and stepped down the suit.
However, the case will now go ahead, following the failure of the parties to settle out of court.
When the court resumed hearing on the matter on Wednesday, the plaintiff counsel, Mr. Ugochukwu Osuagwu, said, “The issue of settlement didn’t work out. The plaintiff wishes to proceed with his matter.”
Jonathan’s counsel, Mr. Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN, thereafter sought leave of the court to regularise applications filed by the defence in the suit.
Oniyangi adjourned the matter to June 21, 2012, to hear the preliminary objections and originating summons.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the planned out-of-court settlement failed because the national leadership of the PDP did not get involved in the talks.
The plaintiff, Njoku, said of the deal, “It didn’t work. The people had approached me earlier on. But when they came again, I told them that it is not something that could be settled at the local (Zuba) ward level.
“There is no settlement at all.”
Jonathan had asked the court to dismiss a suit seeking to stop him from contesting the 2015 presidential election because he had taken the Oath of Office of President twice. The suit claims that he is already in his second term in office.
In his counter motion to the suit, Jonathan insisted he was serving his first term of four years in office as the President in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
Jonathan told the court that he had not announced any intention to run for another term in 2015.
In a 15-paragraph counter affidavit deposed to by Mr. Osahon Okeaya-Inneh, a lawyer in the chambers of Mr. Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN, Jonathan described the suit as frivolous, saying it failed to disclose reasonable cause of action.