Connect with us


Lawyer faults Falana’s position on Jonathan, says he’s eminently qualified to contest 2023 elections



A human rights lawyer, Barr. Eric Omare, has faulted the stand of a colleague and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, over his comment stating that former President Goodluck Jonathan is constitutionally disqualified from contesting in the 2023 Presidential election.

Recall that it was reported how Jonathan is staging a return to Aso Rock after he was defeated as the sitting president on the platform of People’s Democratic Party of the attempt by the then All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, in 2015.

Eric K. Omare, who is the Principal Partner of E. K. Omare & Co, based in Warri, Delta State, said Falana was not correct with his interpretation of the constitution he quoted, claiming he didn’t reflect the position of the law.

According to him, the provisions of section 137 (3) of the 1999 Constitution do not apply to the former president.


“I have just read a story currently trending on the social media credited to leading Human Rights Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana to the effect that former President Goodluck Jonathan is constitutionally barred from contesting in the 2023 Presidential election. Mr. Falana predicated his position on the provision of section 137 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). I beg to disagree with Mr. Falana’s submission. It does not reflect the position of the law. Beyond Mr. Falana’s submission, this issue has generated a lot of controversy in recent times and by this short piece, I shall show that former President Jonathan is constitutionally qualified to contest in the 2023 Presidential election and that the provisions of section 137 (3) of the 1999 Constitution do not apply to him,” the lawyer wrote.

He analysed his defence below.


Section 137 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides thus:

‘A person who was sworn-in as President to complete the term for which another person was elected as President shall not be elected to such office for more than a single term’’.

In simple terms, section 137 (3) means that a person who had completed the term of another person, just like former President Jonathan completed the term of late President Yar’Adua, can be elected for only one term.


However, the key question is whether this constitutional provision, that is, section 137 (3), applies to former President Jonathan in respect of his constitutional right to contest the 2023 Presidential elections. This leads us to the determination of its origin. Section 137 (3) came about as a result of the 10th alteration to the 1999 Constitution which was assented to by President Buhari on the 7th day of June, 2018. In effect, the commencement date or the date section 137 (3) enters into operation is from the 7th day of June, 2018. Now, former President Jonathan completed the term of Late President Yar’Adua from May 5, 2010 to May 29, 2011 and served a single term from May 29, 2011 to May 29, 2015.

The question is whether a law or constitutional provision which came into effect on the 7th day of June, 2018, after Jonathan had served the term of Late Yar’Adua and a single term in office, has retrospective application to an event that occurred before the coming into effect of the law. Basically, the apex court in Nigeria, which is the Supreme Court, has distinguished between two sets of laws. That is, the substantive or organic and the procedural laws. Whereas substantive laws deal with substantive rights and obligations of persons, on the other hand, procedural laws deal with issues of procedure such as rules of court. As to the application of these two sets of laws to practical situations, the Supreme Court has provided guide in a plethora of cases. In the recent case of Nwora & ors v. Nwabueze & Ors (2020) ALL FWLR (Pt. 1029) 58, 93, paras A-H, a case which deals with one of the constitutional alteration bills signed into law by President Buhari on the 7th day of June, 2018, the Supreme Court, Per Nweze, JSC stated the law in these words:

“Both in England and in Nigeria, superior courts have made it, abundantly, clear that the applicable law to a cause of action is the law prevailing at the time the cause of action arose, notwithstanding, that the law has been revoked at the time the action is being trial … In all, it is a fundamental principle of our law that rights of parties in an issue in litigation are decided on the basis of the substantive or organic law in force at the time of the act in question. This distinguishes them from adjectival or procedural law where the rule governing practice and procedure is the rule in force at the time of trial or the application is heard, unless there is provision to the contrary…”

In simple terms, constitutional provisions or laws relating to the right to contest elections such as section 137 (3) fall under the umbrella of substantive or organic law and as the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, the substantive or organic law applicable is the law that was in existence at the time the act in question occurred. The simple reason is that laws generally do not have retrospective effect, except otherwise stated. In other words, laws apply only to acts that occur after the enactment of the law and not those that occurred before the enactment. See SHABA & ORS v. KPOTUN & ORS (2021) LPELR-54766 (CA), 29-30. The act in question here is that former President Jonathan completed the term of Late President Yar’Adua before spending another term as President from 2011 to 2015.

Clearly, from the foregoing statement of the law, the relevant questions that come to mind are:


i. When did former President Jonathan complete the term of President Yar’Adua and served one term?
ii. Was the provision of Section 137(3) the law in existence at that time?

The answers to the foregoing questions are not farfetched. Former President Jonathan completed the term of Late Yar’Adua from May 10, 2010 to May 29, 2011 and served one term from May 29, 2011 to May 29, 2015. Then, the answer to the second question is simple. Section 137 (3) was not in existence or operation at as May 10, 2010 to May 29, 2015 when the act in question occurred; hence it is not applicable.

Based on the foregoing, I submit most humbly that the learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana was wrong to contend that former President Jonathan is not qualified to contest the 2023 Presidential election on the basis of section 137 (3) which came into effect on the 7th day of July, 2018. Section 137 (3) does not apply to former President Jonathan and he is constitutionally qualified to contest the 2023 Presidential election, if he wishes to aspire.

It is widely rumoured that the former president may be declaring his intention early May on the platform with which he was defeated as the sitting president back in 2015.

ALSO READ  26-yr-old Female APC Candidate Makes History, Wins Assembly Seat In Kwara
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Youths reject Akeredolu’s choice of LCDA chairman, deputy



The youths of the Araromi Obu community in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State have appealed to the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to change the caretaker chairman and vice-chairman nominated for the newly created Ifesowapo Local Council Development Area of the state.

On Thursday, the state House of Assembly screened and approved 51 nominees for the Interim Management Committee of the 18 local governments and the LCDAs in the state.

The nominees whose names were sent to the Assembly by the state governor, were to manage the affairs of the councils till the LG elections in February 2024.

The Araromi-Obu youths said the two nominees for their LCDAs were non-indigenes of the area and were also not acceptable to the community’s people.


The Youths President in the community, Mr. Dayo Akinro, who spoke on Friday about the agitation, in Akure, the state capital, said the appointment of the duo did not reflect the spirit of fairness to the people of Araromi-Obu.

Akinro said, “We respectively express our outright displeasure and rejection of the nomination of two individuals (chairman and vice-chairman) because their nomination and appointment does not reflect the spirit of fairness to Araromi-Obu as the host community and the indigenes of the town.

“This appointment is considered an embarrassment on the face of an average indigene of Araromi-Obu because the council is newly created thus having a non-indigene as the pioneer head in the administration of the council negates the spirit of fairness and sense of belonging as indigenes of a community like ours should enjoy.”

ALSO READ  2023 Election: Nigerian Celebrities Promote Preferred Candidates

He noted that the nominations of the duo for the community may deepen the conspiracy against the interest of their LCDA.

“Their appointment is considered an insult to the collective sensibility and it is set to deepen the age-long conspiracy against the interest of our community if not rescinded. To this extent, we reject them, also, the gods of our land reject them.


“On this basis, considering the afore-stated reasons and in order to have a peaceful take-off of the new local council and subsequent symbolic working relationship with the community, we demand as a matter of saliency, necessity and urgency the withdrawal of the nomination and replacement with the indigenes of Araromi-Obu in the interest of fairness and justice and considering Governor Akeredolu’s indelible antecedents in the fight against injustice in our national life,” the youths president appealed.

Continue Reading


JUST IN: Ganduje inaugurates Rivers APC caretaker committee



The National Working Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress on Friday inaugurated members of the caretaker committee for the Rivers State chapter of the party.

The inauguration, which took place at the national headquarters of the APC in Abuja around 12.30 pm, had the party’s National Chairman, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje; Vice Chairman for South-South, Victor Giadom and members of the NWC in attendance.

The event took place two days after the APC NWC dissolved the former state excos to pave the way for the ad hoc committee that will oversee the conduct of a congress to elect new state executive members.

The dissolution was announced at the party secretariat by the National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, on Wednesday.


Morka disclosed that Chief Tony Okocha was chosen as chairman and Eric Nwibani Secretary of the seven-man caretaker committee.

Other members include Chibuike Ikenga, Stephen Abolo, Silvester Vidin, Senibo Karibi Dan-Jumbo, and Miss Darling Amadi.

Addressing the newly sworn-in officers after the oath-taking, Ganduje asked them to prepare themselves for the arduous task of reconciling factions and members who had left the party.

The APC national chairman also charged them to use the six-month duration to create an enabling environment for the congress that will usher in leadership at all levels.

He said, “I want to congratulate the newly sworn-in members of the caretaker committee. I am sure you are fully aware that since 2015, the APC has been suffering some setbacks in the areas of conflicts, litigations, and counter-litigations that finally resulted in the loss of our great party in Rivers State.

ALSO READ  Nigerians would’ve voted Obi if he was better than Tinubu – Wike

“So, this new NWC has taken a look at the issues pertaining to the party both at national and individual state levels and decided to reform the party. There is no doubt we have members who have been with APC since inception. Some left the party. Some prominent chieftains who left the party even contested against us in another political party. They now wish to come back. Those who left to form factions are also ready to come back.

“You can see that there is no better time to rejig the party than now especially under a new state party leadership and we have confidence in you. Part of the reform system we have introduced includes electronic registration of our members and we request that you pay attention to the electronic registration of our members and do some work to spearhead the exercise.

“We expect you to constitute various committees to get more members into the party. That is the work you should do and we expect you to create an enabling environment so congresses could be conducted for the emergence of leadership at local government, state, and even senatorial levels.

There should be no discrimination because you are a product of unity.”

Continue Reading


Lagos didn’t fund Sanwo-Olu’s election legal dispute – Commissioner



The Lagos State Government on Monday denied an allegation by the Labour Party candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, that the state funded Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s post-election legal dispute.

Commissioner of Information, Gbenga Omotoso, in a statement reacting to the allegation, stated it was not true but a ploy to deceive the public.

Omotoso noted that though a payment request was made, it was turned down by the governor after the Attorney General noticed its irregularity.

The commissioner urged those scrutinising the finances of the state to base such inquiry on verified facts.


The statement read, “A post on ‘X’ by Labour Party (LP) candidate Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, on November 19, 2023, alleged – without any proof whatsoever – that the Lagos State Government funded Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s legal dispute after the March 18, 2023 election. This is not true.

“The allegation was supported by a document that neither carried the logo of the Lagos State Government nor the endorsement of any of its officials. It was simply another ploy to deceive the public about a non-existent payment of N50,000,000 to four lawyers.

“While it is worthwhile for patriotic individuals to scrutinise the finances of the Lagos State Government, the outcome of such inquiry must always be based on verified facts and nothing but the truth.

“The transaction referenced by Mr. Rhodes-Vivour never took place. There was a payment request, which was not approved by Mr. Governor when the Honourable Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice drew his attention to it because it was irregular.

ALSO READ  Osita Okechukwu claims PDP behaves like Nollywood party

“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will never misappropriate public funds in defiance of his Oath of Office”.


Continue Reading


Copyright © 2022 TheHeute.