Nigeria’s CBN Governor Emefiele Insists on Contesting, Sues INEC

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Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja over the alleged plan by INEC and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to disqualify him from the 2023 presidential election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had given political parties a deadline of June 3 to submit their candidates for the 2023 elections.

Some group of persons had purchased expression of interest form for Emefiele to contest as President under the All Progressives Congress (APC). Emefiele readily declined the forms but thanked the groups. Speaking further on the 2023 Presidency, Emefiele said God would decide for him “in the next few days”.

Godwin Emefiele’s alleged involvement in politics attracted more strong condemnations, this had triggered outrage as many called on the CBN governor to step down.

Nigeria's CBN Governor Emefiele Insists on Contesting, Sues INEC Over Disqualification (News Central TV)
Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

Emefiele through his team of lawyers led by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, is praying the court to declare that he can “validly participate in the primary election of any political party and is entitled to vote and be voted for as candidate of any political party of his choice, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for the election to the office of President or any other office under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended”.

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He therefore wants the court to issue an order, “stopping the defendants (INEC and the AGF), from stopping or prejudicing the Plaintiff from participating, voting or being voted for at the congress or convention of any political party of his choice, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for the election to the office of President or any other office under the Constitution”.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who described Emefiele’s interest in the 2023 Presidency as “a joke taken too far”, had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to fire him if he refused to step down.

Some lawyers had argued that Emefiele was unfit to run going by Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act.

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The section states that no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.

Emefiele, through his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, argued that he is not a political appointee and by provision of the constitution, he is expected to resign a month before the February 25, 2023, presidential election.

“It is our respectful submission that the plaintiff is not a political appointee as envisaged by the Electoral Act and as he seeks to contest for the Office of the President in the new electoral calendar, he shall only be governed or guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (1999), as amended, which requires that he gives at least thirty (30) days’ notice of resignation, withdrawal or retirement from the office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria before any elections,” the document read.

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He also contended that a Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State, had nullified section 12 (8) of the Electoral Act.

On Saturday, Emefiele declined the presidential forms bought for him, saying he would use his resources to purchase them if he is interested in the race.


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