2023: Jonathan Is Constitutionally Qualified, This Is Who Can Stop Him – Ozekhome Reveals

2023: Jonathan Is Constitutionally Qualified, This Is Who Can Stop Him – Ozekhome Reveals

by Victor Ndubuisi

Mike Ozekhome (SAN), a top Nigerian lawyer, has stated that the country’s constitution does not exclude former President Goodluck Jonathan from running for president in 2023.

Those stating constitutional grounds why Jonathan should not run for president in 2023 are being shortsighted and selfish, according to Ozekhome, who are simply repeating one portion of the Constitution and disregarding the other.

According to him, such individuals are frightened that the Bayelsa-born former President of Nigeria would beat their own candidate, which is why they are attempting to disqualify him from the race.

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Apart from the constitution, the human rights lawyer claimed, the case had previously been carried to the Appeal Court level, where it was decided in favor of Goodluck Jonathan.


This position was announced on Friday, amid rumors that Jonathan might switch to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and run for president in the 2023 elections.

However, according to Anaedoonline.ng, prominent human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) announced on Wednesday that Jonathan is unable to run for president in 2023 according to section 137 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“It will be grossly unfair, unconstitutional, unconscionable, and inequitable to deny Jonathan of the right to contest the 2023 presidential election when our extant laws and appellate court decisions permit him to,” Ozekhome wrote on Friday in what appears to be a response to his colleague’s position.

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He made his case using provisions 141 of the Electoral Act of 2010, as amended, and section 285(13) of the 1999 constitution’s fourth amendment (as amended).

While asking opponents of a Jonathan presidency in 2023 to quit misinterpreting the constitution, Ozekhome pondered if subjecting Jonathan’s well-earned reputation through another round of elections would be humiliating.

“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),” Ozekhome said.


“They have probably not adverted 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.

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“More revealing is that these antagonists are probably not aware of an extant and subsisting court of appeal decision where Jonathan was frontallly confronted and challenged before the 2015 presidential election, on the same ground of being ineligible to contest the said 2015 election, having allegedly been elected for two previous terms of office.


“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?

“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.

“I do not view issues from such a narrow ad homine prism and blurred binoculars. It will be grossly unfair, unconstitutional, unconscionable and inequitable to deny Jonathan of the right to contest the 2023 presidential election when our extant laws and appellate court decisions permit him to.


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“The question of whether Jonathan really needs to subject his glittering and internationally acclaimed reputation and credentials to the muddy waters of a fresh competition with persons, some of whom were his personal appointees as president, is another matter altogether.

“Only him, and not the present state of the laws in Nigeria, can answer that question and decide his own fate. But, as regards his eligibility to contest, Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is pre-eminently constitutionally, morally and legally qualified to contest the 2023 presidential election.”

Anaedoonline.ng recalls Jonathan was Nigeria’s vice-president between 2007 and 2010. He became the President in May 2010 following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and completed the latter’s tenure.

He contested and won the 2011 presidential election, but lost his second term bid in 2015 to President Muhammadu Buhari who contested as the candidate of the APC.



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