Saturday, May 28, 2022

Presidential Ambition: Odinkalu, Ralph-Collins sue Emefiele for violating CBN Act

The suit also seeks to clarify whether Mr Emefiele’s public service as CBN governor comes second to his constitutionally protected right to belong to a political party and participate in party

• May 12, 2022
CBN Godwin Emefiele (credit: Bloomberg)
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele (credit: Bloomberg)

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has been sued by Chidi Odinkalu and Ikemefuna Ralph-Collins Uzoezie over his presidential ambition.  

A summons, seen by Peoples Gazette, was brought under the National Industrial Court Rules 2017, the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Central Bank of Nigeria ACT 2007, with Messrs Odinkalu and Uzoezie seeking to clarify the law’s stance on Mr Emefiele’s political aspiration. 

“Whether by the combined effect of the provisions of sections 1(3) and 9 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007, the first Respondent is statutorily mandated to devote the whole of his time to his employment with second respondent (as an independent entity) and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not engage in any full or part time employment or vocation which in the context includes participating in party primaries, congresses or other convention for the purposes of nomination of its candidates to the office of the president of Federal Republic of Nigeria or contesting for election for the position of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria scheduled for 25th February 2023, while in the employment of second respondent,” the summons said. 

Joined as respondents in the suit are the CBN and attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami.

The suit also seeks to clarify whether Mr Emefiele’s public service as CBN governor comes second to his constitutionally protected right to belong to a political party and participate in party activities. 

Section 9 of the CBN Act states that “the governor and the deputy governors shall devote the whole of their time to the service of the bank and while holding office shall not engage in any full or part-time employment or vocation whether remunerated or not except such personal or charitable causes as may be determined by the board and which do not detract from their full-time duties.”

The suit followed Mr Emefiele’s actions after multiple denials of his interest in contesting APC’s presidential primary election.  He denied purchasing the nomination form of the party, despite multiple checks by The Gazette. 

“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,” Mr Emefiele said on Twitter, thanking the “farmers” that made the purchase. “I note and salute the sacrifices of those farmers and patriots going as far as raising personal funds and offering me presidential nomination forms.”

Mr Emefiele’s brazen ambition for the presidency has been condemned widely by politicians and citizens alike.

The Peoples Democratic Party denounced Mr Emefiele’s involvement in open partisan politics as bordering on economic sabotage and demanded his resignation or ouster. 

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu also demanded that Mr Emefiele drop out of the presidential race or resign his position as CBN governor. 

On Monday, Mr Emefiele filed a lawsuit at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court seeking clarification as to whether or not he could remain in office while running for president.

Through his counsel Mike Ozekhome, Mr Emefiele argued that he would suffer “irreparable damage” if he was not allowed to engage in partisan politics while holding office as CBN chief of Africa’s largest economy.  

The matter has been adjourned until May 12 for the Independent National Electoral Commission and Mr Malami to file their respective responses to Mr Emefiele.

The Gazette had earlier reported pictures of campaign vehicles bearing Mr Emefiele’s photos being circulated online, as well as the registration of Diaspora for Emefiele Limited, an organisation in the United Kingdom to push the CBN governor as the next president of Nigeria.

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