An Abuja High Court on Wednesday granted leave to an aggrieved PDP member, Mr Cyracus Njoku, to explore modalities for out of court settlement.
Njoku filed a suit against President Goodluck Jonathan, PDP and INEC, seeking to stop Jonathan from contesting the 2015 presidential race on the ground that he was already serving his second term in office.
Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi granted the leave after Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Oscars Ugochukwu, informed the court that his client had been approached by ``some powerful'' members of the party for an out of court settlement.
Oniyangi, in granting the leave, adjourned hearing in the suit till May 30 for a report on the progress so far made to settle the matter.
Njoku from Cuba Ward in Zuba, Abuja Municipal Area Council with PDP registration number 1622735, in the suit, urged the court to declare that Jonathan could not wear to an oath thrice in the light of Section 137(1) (b) of the Constitution.
In the suit, Njoku also wants the court to declare that the president’s tenure of office began on May 6, 2010, and that his two terms shall end on May 29, 2015 having taken his second oath of office on May 29, 2011.
He also wants the court to declare that by virtue of Section 136 (1) (b) of the Constitution, no person (including Jonathan) shall take the oath of allegiance and the oath of office prescribed in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution more than twice.
Njoku is also praying for an order of injunction restraining Jonathan from further contesting or attempting to vie for the Office of President after May 29, 2015 when his tenure shall by the Nigerian Constitution, end.
He is also seeking for an order of injunction restraining PDP from further sponsoring or attempting to sponsor Jonathan as candidate for election to the office of the President in 2015.
The aggrieved member also wants an order of court directing INEC not to accept the name of Jonathan, where sponsored by his party, again to run for the Office of President in 2015.
In a counter affidavit, Counsel to Jonathan, Chief Are Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), stated that his client had not indicated or announced anywhere that he would be contesting for the presidential election in 2015.
In a 15-paragraph counter-affidavit deposed to by Okeaya-Inneh, Jonathan described the suit as frivolous and vexatious, failing to disclose reasonable cause of action.
Addressing newsmen after the sitting of the court, Njoku refused to mention the names of the ``powerful'' members of the PDP who approached him for an out of court settlement.
``All I can say at this point is that some powerful elements in the PDP approached me to stand down the suit so as to explore other means of settlement.
``I will look at what they have presented and I will know whether to accept or go on with the case.
``I told my lawyer to ask for an adjournment to give those top shots of my party an opportunity to present what they have. If at the end I am not satisfied, I will come back,'' he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that this is the second time that Njoku has taken the President to court.
He had in August 2010 attempted to stop the PDP from allowing Jonathan to participate in the PDP presidential primary of January 2011.
He said the declaration of Jonathan to contest the presidency on the PDP platform was contrary to Article7.2(c) of the PDP 2009 Constitution (as amended) on zoning.
But the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Lawal Gummi, dismissed the suit. (NAN)