Emefiele's bid to get court backing for presidential ambition fails

Godwin Emefiele

Suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, on Monday, failed in his bid to obtain legal backing to continue in office while he joined the ongoing contest for the presidency in the 2023 general election.

In the suit which further confirmed the CBN governor’s interest in the 2023 presidential election, Emefiele had asked the court for an interim order to stop the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from disqualifying him from participating in the primary election of his preferred political party.

Premium Times reports that in the suit filed on May 5, Ozekhome argued that no law exempted Emefiele from contesting the primary election of any political party as a sitting CBN governor.

But he claimed in the suit that INEC and the AGF are making “frantic efforts to disqualify” Mr Emefiele “from participating in the presidential primaries scheduled for June 3 2022, for not resigning from his office before the parties primaries.”
Monday’s proceedings

“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 by the provisions of section 167 and 318 of the constitution,” Ozekhome said.

While further justifying the request for the injunction, Ozekhome argued that by Wednesday, May 11 is the deadline for the collection of expression of interest form for the presidential election.

“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 nugatory and a fait accompli foisted on the applicant if the court does not issue an order,” he said.

Ozekhome, in an affidavit of urgency in support of the exparte application stated that the Plaintiff/Applicant is the current Governor of the CBN and “desires to contest election for the office of the President in 2023.

According to Mr 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.

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

He also argued that the said section 84(12) of the Electoral Act has been struck down by Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court Umuahia.

“Though, the matter is on appeal,” Mr Emefiele’s lawyer acknowledged.

He, therefore, urged the court to order the maintenance of the status quo, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

But ruling on the ex parte application, Justice Ahmed Mohammed said he would instead of granting Emefiele’s request, would summon INEC and the AGF to appear before him and defend themselves.

Justice Mohammed, therefore, directed the defendants to appear in court on May 12 to show cause why Mr Emefiele’s request should not be granted.

He also ordered that Emefiele’s to serve the defendants the papers he filed in court before the next hearing date.

A group had purchased the N100 million presidential nomination and expression of interest forms of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the CBN Governor last week.

But the CBN Governor rejected the form, saying he has not made up his mind if he wanted to contest the presidential election.

He added that should he heed the call to run for the presidency, he would use his “own hard-earned savings from over 35 years of banking leadership to buy my Nomination Forms”.

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