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Judge Granted Relief Not Prayed For By Claimants In Favour Of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan — Falana, SAN

A human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has reacted to the judgement of the Federal High Court, Bayelsa which cleared Former President Goodluck Jonathan to contest.

The Court sitting had on Friday ruled that Jonathan is eligible to contest the 2023 presidential election. The presiding judge, Justice Isa Hamma Dashen, gave the judgement in a suit marked FHC/YNG/CS/86/2022. He also held that Jonathan’s right to vie for the office of president again cannot be stopped by any retroactive law.

However, Falana expressed concern that the court granted an order that was not sought by the Plaintiffs

He said, “The claimants prayed the Federal High Court to disqualify the 1st Defendant (Dr.Goodluck Jonathan) from contesting the 2023 presidential election. In spite of the directive of the National Judicial Council that such matters be filed at the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court the Yenogoa Judicial Division of the Court assumed jurisdiction, heard the case and dismissed all the reliefs sought by the Claimants.

“But without any counterclaim filed by any of defendants the Court decided to grant a relief not sought by the Claimants. In other words, the relief granted by the Court to the effect that the 1st Defendant is not disqualified by the 2018 constitutional amendment was not sought or prayed for by the Claimants.”

The human rights lawyer also noted that that the Plaintiffs lacked locus standi to institute the matter because there was no dispute between the parties.

“It is interesting to note that the the 2nd Defendant (All Progressive Congress) and 3rd Defendant (Independent National Electoral Commission) were served the processes but did not file any process in the case. They were equally not represented by lawyers for reasons best known to the Defendants.

“As there was no dispute between the parties the claimants lacked the locus standi to have maintained the action. On that score the case ought to have been stuck out on the authority of the the case of Peoples Democratic Party v Edede & Anor (CA/OW/87/2022) filed by the PDP, v Edede & Anor. wherein the Court of Appeal struck out the suit marked: FHC/UM/CS/26/2022 and held that the federal high court Umuahia had no jurisdiction to hear the case because Edede lacked the locus standi to have filed the suit in the first place.” Falana said

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