#YNaija2023: This is why CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele went to court

Godwin Emefiele

If he does not call it quits with the CBN forthwith, Godwin Emefiele should be removed by the President in line with Section 11 of the CBN Act and recommended for prosecution for conflict of interest before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Femi Falana

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has given reasons the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele is not qualified to run for Presidency in 2023.

“Retaining Mr. Emefiele as the Governor of the CBN and presidential aspirant in the ruling party is going to have a more deleterious effect on the national economy that has been paralysed through the implementation of obnoxious monetary policies at the behest of imperialism”, Falana added.

He goes on:

“For the avoidance of doubt, the powers conferred on the Governor and the Board of the CBN under the CBN Act are enormous. They include the power to ensure monetary and price stability; issue legal tender currency in Nigeria; maintain external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency; promote a sound financial system in Nigeria; and act as bankers and provide economic and financial advice to the Federal Government.

“In addition, the Banks and Financial institutions Act 2020 has empowered the Governor and CBN to grant and revoke licences of banks; supervise banks, dissolve Boards and Management of Banks, remove Managing Directors and other directors of Banks, sanction erring banks and officials, make rules that guide commercial banks, provide loan to Governments, set interest rates, serve as apex bank to other banks and ensure a cordial relationship with foreign banks. Furthermore, the Minister of Finance shall seek inputs from the CBN in preparing the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for the annual budget pursuant to the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.

“The performance of these statutory functions which shall be in the national interest cannot be left in the hands of a politically exposed person.”

But, Emefiele is not interested in the apparent conflict of interest in this case. This is why he filed the main suit on May 5, through his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome.

Ozekhome argued in the suit that no law exempted him from contesting the primary election of any political party as a sitting CBN governor.

“The plaintiff is legally competent to contest the primaries of any political parties while still serving as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in so far as he gives 30 days’ notice of his resignation, withdrawal from the services of the CBN as its governor in accordance with the provisions of section 167 and 318 of the constitution,” the plaintiff’s lawyer said.

In his suit, Emefiele sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation asking the court to restrain them from compelling him to resign as the CBN governor to run for office in 2023.

At the sitting on Monday, Ozekhome argued that by Wednesday, May 11, the timeline for the collection of expression of interest form for the presidential poll will expire.

“The timeline for the primaries, congresses or conventions of political parties for the presidential election which the applicant is interested in, comes up on the 30th of May and June 1.

“We are not asking for an injunction, but due to the urgency of the matter, the applicant needs the protection and canopy of justice to stop the matter from being rendered nuggatory and a fait accompli foisted on the applicant, if the court does not issue an order,” he said.

According to Ozekhome, “The applicant is in a dilemma as to whether to run for the 2023 presidential election or not and therefore has come to court for interpretation of section 318 of the Constitution.

“Being a public servant, is the applicant a political appointee that is also cut in the web of section 84(12) of the Electoral Act?”

He told the court that Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act as amended, 2022, does not affect him, being a public servant and not a political appointee.

Ozekhome argued that the section of the Electoral Act has been voided by a Federal High Court in Umuahia and that the matter is on appeal at the moment.

In his ruling, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed turned down the request and summoned INEC and the attorney general to appear before the court on May 12 to show cause on why a stay in office should not be granted to the governor.

Ondo governor, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) reacts

He cannot combine partisan politics with the very delicate assignment of his office.

Rotimi Akeredolu

“It is, however, difficult to imagine that a person who occupies the exalted and sensitive office of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria will be this brazen in actualising his ambition,” said Akeredolu on Friday.

“Should he refuse to quit, it becomes incumbent on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to remove him forthwith,” Akeredolu added.

It was reported that Godwin Emefiele had declared his intention to run, but at the weekend, he responded via multiple tweets from his verified Twitter account, saying:

“I am humbled by the growing interest of those asking that I run for the office of president in the 2023 general elections: I have not come to that decision. However, should I answer their calls and decide to seek presidential nomination, I will use my own hard-earned savings to buy my own nomination forms.

“I will do so without proxies, in an open and transparent manner in full compliance with the laws and Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria. I will continue to serve and sacrifice for the good people of Nigeria under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari,” Emefiele said.

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