Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Rights Activist, Femi Falana, has established that Emefiele’s involvement in partisan politics will breach the sovereignty of the apex bank.
The SAN released a statement titled “Legal Hurdles to Cross by Mr. Godwin Emefiele,” which he tackled the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor’s decision to contest in the 2023 presidential elections.
Falana said it would be unheard of, to leave CBN in a hands of a person who was going to delve into politics at the detriment of the sensitive and demanding office he currently occupies, while referring to some sections of the CBN Act. He also called out Emefiele’s loyalists urging him on, adding that they had no clue what the Act stated.
“The supporters of the Governor have ignored section 9 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act which provides 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 conflict with or detract from their full time duties.’ The provisions of section 18 (4) (b) of the Banks and are in pari materia with Section 9 of the CBN Act.
“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 Banker 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 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 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. Hence, the Central Bank Act and Banks and Financial institutions Act provide that the bank shall be a fully autonomous body with the objective of promoting stability and continuity in economic management. Therefore, the involvement of the Governor in partisan politics will compromise the autonomy of the CBN.”
The seasoned Lawyer said the integrity of the CBN was at stake, and called for the immediate resignation of Emefiele should he insist on contesting.
“However, since he has the constitutional right to participate in politics and contest elections, he is required by law to resign his appointment forthwith. If he does not call it quits with the CBN forthwith, Mr. 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. Retaining Mr. Emefiele as the Governor of the CBN and presidential aspirant in the ruling party is going to have 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 that since Emefiele was yet to be authorised by the Board of the CBN to participate in any type of politics, he had no right to do so, until proven otherwise.
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