Why Jonathan Cant be PDP candidate in 2015…North East Zone

The North East Zone of the PDP has inissted that according to the party’s constitution, President Jonathan cannot run on the platform of the PDP for the presidential elections in 2015.Accoring to a petition prepared by its legal representative,Adeniran Ogunsanya jr  the President is not in a position to run because of provisions in the party’s constitution.Find below the full text of the petition:

 

APPEAL TO THE PDP NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TO INTERPRETE SECTION 7.(3) (C) OF THE 2012 PDP CONSTITUTION (AS AMENDED) AND RULE THAT THE PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ROTATE TO THE NORTH AND ZONE TO NORTH-EAST OR NORTH CENTRAL IN 2015 IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PDP CONSTITUTION.

On the 23rd of February 2013, the National Chairman of the Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur made a declaration that President Goodluck Jonathan can contest the Party presidential primary for the 2015 General Election. Also on the 1st of March 2013 Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi of the Abuja High Court held that the President is eligible to contest the 2015 presidential election if he so desires. The decision of Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi can further be justified by examining Article (xxii) proposed 1947, ratified 1951, section 1 of the Constitution of the United States of America which states, ‘No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once”.

This clearly shows that in the United States of America where a President dies in office or is removed after serving more than two years and the Vice – President is sworn as President, the President would be eligible to contest for the office of President more than once.

President Goodluck Jonathan is therefore eligible to re-contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2015 in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria having been elected to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria once.

GROUNDS OF APPEAL

GROUND 1

That President Goodluck Jonathan is not eligible to re-contest the PDP presidential primary in 2015 as his candidature in 2015 shall be in contravention of the Party Policy of rotation and zoning of section 7.(3) (C) of the PDP Constitution 2012 (as amended).

GROUND 2

That in accordance with the Party Policy of rotation and zoning, section 7.(3) (c) of the Constitution of the PDP 2012 (as amended) the Party presidential candidate must rotate to the North and Zone to the North East or North Central at the 2015 National Convention of the Party and only candidates from these two geo-political zones are eligible for nomination as PDP presidential candidate for the 2015 General Election.

APPEAL BROUGHT:-

This Appeal is brought pursuance to:-

1. Section 31(2)(h) of the Constitution of the PDP 2012 (as amended) which states that the National Executive Committee shall consider appeals and other matters referred to it by the Zones or States of the Federation.

2. Section 67(1) of the Constitution of the PDP 2012 (as amended) which States that any question as to the meaning of any section of this Constitution, or the schedule hereto shall be referred to the National Executive Committee whose interpretation of the same shall be final.

3. Section 60 (1) and (4) that if any member of the Party is aggrieved, he shall report to the appropriate authority. The National Executive Committee of the Party shall be the final arbiter, provided that failure, refusal or neglect to treat a report, petition, complaint or appeal on the part of the arbiter shall, in itself, constitute an offence.

4. Section 61 (1) and (2), that any member of the Party who is aggrieved by a decision taken against him by any of the organs or officers of the Party shall have the right of appeal to the immediate higher organ of the Party within fourteen days of the decision. An appeal shall be determined by the appropriate appeal body within twenty-one days from the date of the receipt of the notice of appeal by the appropriate Executive Committee.

5. Section 58(1) (i) that subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Party shall have power to discipline any member who resorts to court action or litigation on any disputes or on any matter whatsoever concerning rights, obligations and duties of any member of the Party without first availing himself of the remedies provided by the Party under this Constitution.

ARGUMENT

1. DUTY OF PARTY MEMBERS.

By the provisions of section 35(1)(b) and (h) of the Constitution of the PDP 2012 (as amended), it is the function of the National Chairman of the Party to provide firm and effective leadership and direct the activities of the Party under the overall supervision of the National Executive Committee and ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Party Constitution.

Section 8(1) of the Constitution of the PDP states that membership of the Party is open to all Nigerians who undertake to abide by the Constitution of the Party. Section 10 on code of conduct states that a Party member shall take all necessary steps to understand , propagate and execute the aims and objectives of the Party, defend the policies of the Party, be loyal to the Party and not do anything that is inconsistent with the Party Constitution.

To all Party members, Section 2 of the Constitution of the PDP 2012 (as amended) states, that subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this Constitution shall be supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all members and organs of the Party.

2. INTERPRETING SECTION 7.(3) (C) OF THE PDP POLICY
OF ROTATION AND ZONING.

Section 7.(3) (c) of the Constitution of the PDP states, ‘The Party shall pursue these aims and objectives by adhering to the Policy of the rotation and zoning of the Party and public elective offices in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness.

Preamble 2 (d) of the PDP Constitution expressed clearly that in the beginning of the Party formation, the leaders of likeminded political associations in the country, prompted by a sense of duty to the nation, assembled in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on the 28th Day of July, 1998 and resolved to conform with the principles of power shift and power sharing by rotating key political offices amongst the diverse peoples of the country.

By section 67(2) (m) Six zonal entities were established and recognized namely; North East, North Central, North West, South East, South West and South South.

Examining these provisions herein, it is submitted that the power shift is the rotation and the rotation is on a North and South basis. The power sharing is amongst the diverse peoples of the country within the six geo-political zones.

Examining section 7.(3) (c) as it relates to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is a public elective office reference is made to section 50(3) of the PDP Constitution – Nomination of the candidates for election to public offices. It states, ‘In the conduct of primaries for the Party’s candidate for the post of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria the primary shall be held at the National Convention of the Party specifically convened for that purpose’.

Section 33(5) (c) States – The National Convention shall have and exercise authority to elect the presidential candidate of the Party.

And section 33(7) – The National Convention shall meet every four years.

Taking all the provisions of the Party Constitution herein expressed into consideration, namely sections 7.(3) (c); 67.(2) (m); 50(3); 33(5) (c) and 33(7) it is established and hereby submitted that the Party presidential candidate, rotate on a North and South basis, every four years, amongst the six geo-political zones, one zone after the other, at the National Convention.

The PDP as a political Party has nothing to do with electing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. All the PDP does is to elect its Party presidential candidate to be sponsored for the presidential election. It is at the General Election where all Nigerians eligible to vote that a President is elected.
The Party Policy of rotation and zoning is a process by which the PDP elect a presidential candidate. Electing a PDP presidential candidate is not electing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, therefore no term is created or recognized by the provisions of the PDP Constitution. The word term represent the term of years of service of an elected President being four years by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Policy of rotation and zoning is therefore not tenure base. PDP does not by in itself elect a President. The Party only present a presidential candidate for a General Election.

The Policy of rotation and zoning of the Party presidential candidate, at the National Convention has nothing to do with whether the Party presidential candidate is elected President or not. It is simply a Policy in pursuance of the principles of equity, justice and fairness to give an opportunity to all the six geo-political zones to present a Party presidential and vice-presidential candidates at a General Election, one Zone after another on a North and South basis every four years. In this no zone can complain of marginalization.

The provisions of section 7(3) (c) first came into existence in the 2006 PDP Constitution (as amended) under Article 7.(2) (c) and retained under Article 7.(2) (c) in the 2009 PDP Constitution as amended.

There is no provision of the PDP Constitution for primaries in respect of the party’s candidate for the post of the Vice – President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as provided for by section 50(3) of the PDP Constitution for primaries for the Party’s candidate for the post of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is so because section 142(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that a candidate for an election to the office of President shall not be deemed to be validly nominated unless he nominates another candidate as his associate from the same political Party for his running for the office of President , who is to occupy the office of Vice President and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of Vice President if the candidate for election to the office of President who nominated him as such associate is duly elected as President.

Even though the vice presidential candidate is not elected at the National Convention, the office of the vice presidential candidate is subjected to the Policy of rotation and zoning. The Party presidential candidate must ensure that in nominating his vice presidential candidate he complies with the Party Policy of rotation and zoning. Where the elected presidential candidate is from a North geo-political zone, his nominated vice presidential candidate must emerge from a South geo-political zone and vice versa.

As a result of the existing Policy and practice over the years, a process has been established by operation, sufficient to determine the geo-political zones the Party presidential and vice presidential candidates should next rotate and be zone. A table of the Policy created is hereby exhibited.

YEAR OF NATIONAL CONVENTION TO ELECT PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE/ GEO-POLITICAL ZONE VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE/ GEO-POLITICAL ZONE1999

AND
2003 CHIEF OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
(SOUTH WEST) ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR
(NORTH EAST)
IN 2006 THE POLICY OF ROTATION AND ZONING (ART.7.2 (C) OF PUBLIC ELECTIVE OFFICES CAME INTO EXISTENCE. (EVERY 4 YEARS)
2007 ALHAJI UMARU YAR A’DUA
(NORTH WEST) GOODLUCK JONATHAN
(SOUTH SOUTH)
2011 GOODLUCK JONATHAN
(SOUTH SOUTH) ALHAJI NAMADI
SAMBO
(NORTH WEST)
2015 NORTH EAST *(OR)
NORTH CENTRAL SOUTH EAST
2019 SOUTH EAST NORTH CENTRAL
2023 NORTH CENTRAL* (OR) NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

* Proposed Geo – Political Zone.

Herein is the table of PDP presidential and vice presidential candidates created in accordance with the provisions of the Party Constitution. In the year 2011 at the National Convention of the Party, it was rightly the turn of the South South or South East to have produced the Party presidential candidate in accordance with the provisions of Article 7.(2) (c) of the PDP Constitution 2009 (as amended). The election of President Goodluck Jonathan as PDP presidential candidate at the 2011 National Convention was in accordance with the provisions of the PDP rotation and zoning policy.

Section 51(1) of the PDP Constitution states that the National Executive Committee shall subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Electoral Act (as amended) and this Constitution, formulate guidelines and regulations for the nomination of candidates for election into public offices at all levels and shall be the final authority for resolving all disputes relating to the choice of candidates for the Party for any election and for conveying to the Independent National Electoral Commission or any other authority to whom it may concern, confirming the names or list of names of candidates for the Party in any elective public office in the Federation.

By the provisions of Section 51 (1), the National Executive Committee is subjected to the Policy of rotation and zoning in determining the nomination of candidates for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is submitted that the National Executive Committee of the Party in formulating guidelines and regulations for the nomination of candidates for the office of the President should rule as to the geo-political zone or zones eligible to present candidates for the Party presidential primary at the 2015 National Convention.

As a result of the rotation and zoning Policy being every four (4) years at the National Convention, there is no provision of the Party Constitution giving a right to the President to re-contest Party primaries for a possible second term whereas in respect of Party officers, section 47(1) of the Constitution of the PDP states; “All National, Zonal , State, Local Government Area and Ward officers of the Party shall hold office for a term of four years and shall be eligible for re-election for another term and no more”.

By operation of the Party Policy of rotation and zoning, President Goodluck Jonathan is not eligible to re-contest the Party presidential primary in 2015 at the National Convention.

3. THE PRESIDENT AND THE MYTH
OF A RIGHT TO SECOND TERM

Section 137 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria States that, ‘A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections’.

Section137 is a disqualification provision and cannot confer on a President a right to re-contest an immediate second term. This provision applies only to a person who has been elected President at any two previous elections not necessarily consecutive.
Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States and only President to have served two non-consecutive terms, from March 4, 1885 to March 4, 1889 and March 4, 1893 to March 4, 1897. Of all the 43 Presidents of the United States, only 17 were elected President more than once.

Section 221 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria state that no association other than a political party shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election, unlike the Constitution of the United States of America which allows for independent presidential candidates.
The American Constitution by allowing for independent presidential candidate, gives a person eligible, a constitutional right to contest the presidential election. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not allow for independent candidate to contest any election. By the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria it is a political party that has the right to sponsor a candidate for an election. Section 131 (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that, ‘A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party’.

No provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives any right to a President to re-contest for a possible second term.
Section 137(1)(b) Simply states that a person cannot be elected President more than twice. The Constitution in no way suggest that a President is entitled to a second term.

The belief that two terms for an elected President can only mean eight straight years is a myth. The policy of rotation and zoning does not deny President Goodluck Jonathan an opportunity of serving a second term. President Goodluck Jonathan would be eligible to re-contest as a PDP member for his second term when next the Party presidential candidate rotate to his geo-political zone. However, the constitutional rights of a person if any is not restricted to a political party.

The provisions of the rotation and zoning policy falls within the aims and objectives of the PDP recognized by section 224 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The policy conform with the provision of chapter II of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly section 14(3) as the Policy is to promote power shift and power sharing by rotating key political offices amongst the diverse people of the country in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few states or from a few ethnic or sectional groups in that Government.

4. CONCLUSION

Section 1(1) and 1(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that this Constitution is supreme and it’s provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria. (3) If any other law is inconsistent with the provision of this Constitution this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law to the extent of the inconsistency be void.

The PDP rotation and zoning Policy is not inconsistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) as no provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives an elected President a right to re-contest an immediate second term or a right to be re-nominated for re-election as a Party presidential candidate.

It is the prerogative of the PDP to determine whether or not to give an elected President an opportunity to re-contest a possible second term. Where by the provisions of the Party Constitution, the President is not eligible to re-contest for second term in 2015 by virtue of the Party Policy of rotation and zoning, then it is submitted that the Party policy is final and binding on the President as long as he is a member of the PDP.

In determining whether the Party presidential candidate be zone to the North East or North Central in 2015, an examination is made of the nation’s past National Leaders since independence from the North Central and North East geo-political zones. It is discovered that the North Central had produced National Leaders for 17 years 11 months 20 days to the North East 5 years 3 months 15 days. Leaders from the North Central were General Yakubu Gowon from 1st August 1966 to 29th July 1975. General Ibrahim Babangida from 27th August 1985 to 25th August 1993, and General Abdul Salam Abubakar from 9th June 1998 to May 29th 1999. Whereas from the North East only Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa from 1st October 1960 to 15th January 1966.

In pursuance of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, recognized by section 7(3) (c) of the PDP Constitution, it is submitted subject to the approval of the National Executive Committee that the Party presidential candidate for the 2015 election be zone to the North East geo-political zone, and the vice presidential candidate to the South East geo-political zone.

RELIEF SOUGHT

The petitioners knowing the provisions of section 31(3) of the Constitution of the PDP 2012 (as amended) that the decisions of the National Executive Committee shall be binding on all organs and members of the Party seek these reliefs:-

1. That the National Executive Committee should rule that the presidential candidate of the Party be zone to the North East or North Central geo-political zone and the vice-presidential candidate zone to the South East geo-political zone for the 2015 presidential General Election.

2. The National Executive Committee should rule that in accordance with the Party Policy of rotation and zoning of the Constitution of the PDP 2012 (as amended), President Goodluck Jonathan is not eligible to re-contest the 2015 Party presidential primary at the National Convention.

3. That the National Executive Committee should adopt the table exhibited herein of the Party presidential and vice presidential candidates created in accordance with the rotation and zoning policy.

DATED THIS __________ DAY OF MARCH 2013.

________________________
FOR: THE NORTH EAST GEO-POLITICAL ZONE
Prepared By:
Adeniran Ogunsanya (Jnr)
Legal Practitioner

6 Comments

  1. This argument of PDP zoning arrangement as far as i am concerned became a dead issue the moment president yar’adua died and GEJ from the south south became the president. The moment he won the ticket to contest for the presidency on the platform of PDP further derailed the zoning arrangement. The PDP itself killed the zoning arrangement by agreeing that GEJ should be allowed to contest in 2011. Rather than petition on Unconstitutional zoning arrangement, the argument should be that his tenure is a failed tenure,hence somebody else with a brighter policy should be allowed to flag the PDP ticket come 2015. We all know that GEJ has failed and lacks the wisdom, charisma and intellectual capacity to rule this country again. Paper qualification alone does not mean intellectual capacity.

  2. I am not a politian. But if I may ask, @ Public. who is more righteous and eligible than Jonathan to stand as presidencial candidate in PDP? I see all the lizards laying flat. Beautiful one is not yet born in PDP, is he?

  3. PDP has done great harms to the psyche of this country. You can present whoever you want as your canditate. PDP, your time of governance is up!

  4. If the constitution allows him to do so, then he is free to contest.Rational or no rational that one is immaterial and can not supersede our constitution.

Comments are closed.