By Ise-Oluwa Ige
Former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Farouk Adamu Aliyu yesterday approached a Federal high court sitting in Abuja, asking it to nullify the resolution passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly empowering Vice President Jonathan Goodluck to assume full presidential powers pending the return of President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua from his medical leave.Â
Although no date has been fixed for hearing in the case, Saturday Vanguard reports that a similar suit was much earlier filed in court by an Abuja based constitutional lawyer, Mr Kayode Ajulo seeking an order declaring Jonathan Goodluck as Acting President based on the BBC interview granted by the ailing President Yarâ€™Adua on January 12, this year.
Ajulo had contended that the broadcast which transcript was published by Nigerian dailies, read and considered by the two chambers of the National Assembly as reflected in their hansards of January 13 and 16 had fulfilled the condition precedent to activation of section 145 of the 1999 constitution.
The said resolution was passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly on February 9, this year empowering Jonathan Goodluck as Acting President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Farouk, in his suit, is contending that the BBC interview relied upon by the two chambers of the National Assembly to activate the provision of section 145 of the 1999 constitution was never a written declaration or its equivalent envisaged by the constitutional provision.
He is inviting the court to hold that the only communication that could be used by the National Assembly to activate the section 145 is a letter personally written and signed by the ailing president.
Farouk, who was earlier in court, but failed to get a court order declaring the ailing President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua unfit in body or and in mind to continue governance in view of his abandonment of his duty post for several weeks is presently asking the high court to issue an injunctive order stopping Dr Jonathan Goodluck from parading himself as the Acting President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A Federal high court sitting in Abuja yesterday ordered the Executive Council of the Federation (ECOF) to pass a resolution, within 14 days, on whether or not the continued absence of ailing President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua from his duty post since November 23, 2009 on account of grave ill_health does not amount to permanent incapacity to perform the functions of his office.
He approached the court through an originating summons.
The Chairman of the Nassarawa chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Sani Garum Gabbas, who incidentally is Faroukâ€™s co_plaintiff in the first case he filed at the high court is representing him.
His former lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Bamidele Aturu, perhaps had excused himself from the suit having told newsmen on February 9, 2010 that he had no problem with the resolution passed by the National Assembly except that he feared that if challenged in court, it might crumble.
But Farouk and Gabbas are pulling on, seeking to install Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President through the reliefs procured in court from their suit.
The Ajulo suit which has been fixed for February 22, this year, when determined, will either render Faroukâ€™s case useless or boost its chances of voiding the resolution passed by the National Assembly.
In the Ajulo suit, he formulated four fundamental questions for the court to determine including: â€œwhether the combined effect of the authorized and un-contradicted public declaration made by President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua, on January 12, 2009, to wit; â€œAt the moment, I am undergoing treatment, and Iâ€™m getting better from the treatment.
I hope that very soon there will be tremendous progress, which will allow me to get back home…As soon as my doctors discharge me, I will return to Nigeria to resume my duties…I wish, at this stage, to thank all Nigerians for their prayers for my good health, and for their prayers for the nation,â€