Nigeria court says president can run for reelection

The defence lawyer told reporters they would appeal the ruling, citing

The defence lawyer told reporters they would appeal the ruling, citing "many flaws in the judgment"

LAGOS – A Nigerian court has rubbished a case requesting that incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan be declared ineligible to contest the country's 2015 presidential race.

"The suit is at best hypothetical, preemptive, speculative and mere conjunctures," ruled Justice Evelyn Enya-Dike of the Federal High Court in the northwestern Kaduna State.

Two members of Jonathan's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) had sought a court ruling barring him from contesting next year's presidential race.

Their lawyer, Mohamed Ibrahim, had argued that Jonathan has no constitutional right to seek reelection having been sworn into office twice as president.

Then vice president Jonathan became president in 2010 after ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua passed away.

Jonathan went on to win the 2011 presidential election.

Ibrahim cited Sections 145, 142 and 146 of the Nigerian Constitution which limits the tenure of the president and governors to two terms.

The plaintiffs had also sought a court order to restrain the PDP, joined as defendant, from fielding Jonathan as its 2015 presidential candidate.

But Justice Enya-Dike said the plaintiffs had failed to convince the court about what damages a Jonathan's presidential bid would do to them.

"The plaintiffs had failed to show that they would suffer any special damage more than any member of the public if the president contests in 2015," she maintained.

She asserted that Section 308 of the Constitution insulated the President from civil and criminal actions until he vacates office.

Lawyer Ibrahim later told reporters that they would appeal the ruling, citing "many flaws in the judgment."

Jonathan, a Christian, has not declared his intention to seek reelection, although there are indications he plans to do so.

He is the first person from Nigeria's oil-rich Delta to rule Africa's most populous country since independence in 1960.

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