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Published On: Thu, Feb 27th, 2014

SAN denies saying Jonathan can’t contest in 2015

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Yunus Ustaz Usman SANFrom Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

A Kaduna based Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Yunus Ustaz Usman hasdenied saying that President Goodluck Jonathan cannot contest the 2015 Presidential election.

He said continuation of Yar’adua’s tenure could not be counted as that of Jonathan’s.

The SAN said this in Kaduna on Wednesday, in reaction to theinterview he had earlier granted a national newspaper not Peoples Daily where he said ‘Jonathan had to leave office in 2017 even if he wins 2015 election’.

According to Usman SAN, “I only said that the Supreme Court had given similar verdict against some governors before. And I am sure some people will go to court and they will interpret it either for or against the President.

“Looking at the provision of sections 135 to 137 of the constitution, anybody who says that Jonathan does not have right to contest in 2015 is lying or has not read the provisions of the constitution. And I still maintain that Jonathan is qualified to contest for presidency in 2015 if he wants to because the provision of section 135 (1b) in particular says that if you have won election as President twice.

Jonathan has not won election as President twice as we are talking now. The term of Yar’Adua he completed was not Jonathan’s election.

Jonathan did not contest as President then; he only contested and won as Vice President. So we cannot count that one against him. So whoever says Jonathan is not qualified to contest in 2015 is lying or being mischievous. Jonathan has every right to contest”, he said.

When asked whether the President has the right to complete another tenure after 2015, the SAN said, “that is the issue now because if the court is saying one cannot, and the court have interpreted against the Governors that, no governor can stay beyond 8 years. And when that comes, I’m sure some people will go to court and they will interpret it either for or against the President. But what everybody is drumming at is that Jonathan cannot contest but look at this provision.

“One doesn’t need to be a lawyer; the question is that, has Jonathan won election as President twice? Its only once, in 2011. This is not a question of sectional or regional issue, the unfortunate thing is that some people are misconstruing this as professionals. And as professional forget who is hurt; just look at the provision of the law as it is and say so, whether anybody likes it or not is not your business.

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