By Charles KUMOLU
SENATE President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole and Attonery General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, have been dragged to court over the powers of the National Assembly under section 144 and 145 of the 1999 constitution to declare Goodluck Jonathan Acting President and Commander- in-chief of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/286/2010 filed atÂ Federal High Court Abuja Division by counsel to public affairs analyst, Nkemjika Nkemjika, Barrister Nkem EgbutaÂ is seeking for the interpretation ofÂ whether Goodluck Jonathan can validly perform the functions attached to the office of President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua (including the appointment of the National Security Adviser and the dissolution of the Executive Council of the federation) on the strength of the resolution passed by the National Assembly on February 9, 2010. No date has been fixed for the hearing.
Addressing journalistsÂ yesterday in Lagos, the plaintiff, Nkemjika said that as a Nigerian citizen, he has the constitutional right to challenge the action of National Assembly if it is not in accordance with the constitution of the country.
His words:â€œI want to the court to interpret whether Dr Goodluck Jonathan can perform presidential functions as guaranteed by sections 5(1) and 148 of the 1999 constitution only as determined by President Yarâ€™Adua.
â€œWhether the interview granted by President Yarâ€™Adua to the BBC on January 12, 2010 is not a written declaration, and therefore, does not satisfy the requirements demanded by section 145 of the constitution.â€
In addition he said â€œThat the National Assembly cannot invoke the doctrine of necessity to make Dr Goodluck Jonathan Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation because resolutions of parliament do not have any force of law.
Again,Â the doctrine of necessity is a judicial doctrine and not a legislative doctrine. Moreover, sections 144 and 145 of the constitution have requisite capacity to take care of a situation where the President of Nigeria fails to transmit a written declaration to the leadership of the national legislature during his leave of absence from duty or indisposition on health grounds.â€