More condemnations on Tuesday trailed the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to contest in the 2023 presidential election on the All Progressives Congress while presiding over the apex bank.
A legal practitioner, Dr. Remi Olatubora (SAN), on Tuesday threatened to galvanise Nigerians and the civil society to institute not less than 1,000 cases against Emefiele, should he go ahead with his 2023 presidential ambition on the platform of the APC.
According to him, he would ensure that in the next 10 years, the CBN governor would be jumping from one court to the other and inundate him with litigation, “the kind that has never happened in the history of legal profession in Nigeria.”
Emefiele had in his clarification said he had not taken the decision to run for the Presidency in 2023.
On Monday, his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, filed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/610/2022 challenging the legality of Section 84(12) of the amended Electoral Act and to prevent its application to him (a government appointee) in his aspiration to vie for the APC Presidential ticket.
But Olatubora, a former Commissioner for Education in Ondo State during the administration of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, in an interview with The PUNCH said Emefiele’s lawyers should be prepared for a lot of job.
He said, “If Emefiele, the governor of CBN who is entrusted with the public finance of Nigeria, who is the custodian of our foreign exchange, who is the chairman of the Bankers Committee could brazenly come out to tell members of the public that he is a member of APC and goes ahead to collect N100 million expression of interest form; if he submits that form, we will ensure that in the next 10 years, he will be jumping from one court to the other.
“We will inundate him with litigation, the kind that has never happened in the history of legal profession in Nigeria.
“He should expect up to 1,000 cases and his lawyers should be prepared for a lot of job. He should expect up to 1,000 cases in different courts by different interests that his coming into politics will infract on their rights and it will be coordinated and we will ensure that in the next 10 years, he will be jumping from one court to the other.
A former Deputy Governor of the CBN, Prof Kingsley Mogahalu, also took a dim view of Emefiele’s action, describing it as a breach of the CBN Act.
He accused Emefiele of using public office to attain his personal interest, urging Nigerians not to reward such an act.
Mogahalu, who is an aspirant under the African Democratic Congress, spoke while picking up the expression of interest form at the party’s secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said, “I weep for this nation with the development at the CBN. It is deeply wrong to play politics while in office. It is a violation of ethics, moral and the law. What we are seeing is the privatisation of public office for personal gains.”
“The CBN act is clear; Section (9) states that the CBN governor and his deputy should not engage in other employment of vocation. A vocation is something that could take up your time; it may not be a job, it may not be something you could put your hands on, but something that your have your mind and heart in, apart from your duties.
“For the CBN Governor, his heart and mind is in politics up to the extent of going to a law court to seek support for his ambition. First of all, I want to say Nigerians have no business in rewarding this massive breach of the rule of law because the action of the CBN governor shows a contempt of the rule of law. The individual in question has been monumentally incompetent and Nigerians should not support incompetence.”
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project said it was considering legal options to compel the Independent National Electoral Commission to move election from the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The group said its action was predicted on the involvement of Emefiele in partisan politics.
Also, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties has called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to sack Emefiele over his involvement in politics.
Speaking during a press briefing held alongside the Coalition of National Civil Society Organizations, the Secretary General of the group, Chief Willy Ezugwu and the National Secretary for the CSOs, Ali Abacha, insisted that Emefiele’s involvement in politics was in clear violation of the Public Service rules and the CBN Act.
The group threatened that it would persuade serving judicial officers to pick up nomination forms from political parties of their choice, should Buhari fail to sack Emefiele.
It stated, “Their intention was to cause a breach of peace as a licence for security agencies to give the protesters the #EndSARS treatment. In this light, the hired hoodlums were to sneak into the crowd of protesters and attack the CBN headquarters with weapons while a counter-protest was also arranged for the same day.
“Our findings revealed that Mr Godwin Emefiele joined the APC and became a card-carrying member of the party in 2019, which proved that the CBN governor’s presidential ambition was premeditated and has been in his plans before 2019 when he eventually joined partisan politics. This is contrary to the Mr. Godwin Emefiele’s position that his focus was on his job at the CBN.”
Speaking in an interview with one of our correspondents on Tuesday, SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the continued stay of the materials with the CBN was risky, adding that they must be prevented from unlawful interference.
He said, “Yes, we are considering our legal options to compel INEC to move sensitive election materials in the custody of the CBN, in light of the involvement of CBN Governor in partisan politics.
Youths protest, say Emefiele denigrated CBN Act
Meanwhile, the National Youth Council of Nigeria has protested against what it described as the denigration of the CBN Act by Emefiele, whose presidential ambition for the 2023 election has generated a national outcry.
While declaring that the CBN governor has dragged a revered institution of government into partisan politics, the NYCN said it shall consult widely and take appropriate actions.
The President of NYCN, Solomon Adodo, stated these during the launch of the Youth-Run Campaign in Abuja on Tuesday with the theme, ‘Youth rising for a united Nigeria.’
He said, “In the light of the current developments of searching for credible leaders at all levels we herein state the following :
“Our doors are open to all aspirants across all party lines for proper consultation. Aspirants must show their clear plans for the youth and seal a pact of partnership to ensure youth potentials are moved to productivity.
We’ll await court order to decide Emefiele’s fate, says Presidency
The Presidency on Tuesday said it would wait for the decision of the court before deciding the fate of the CBN governor.
But the Presidency on Tuesday said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), would not sack the CBN chief until the court reached a final decision on the issue on May 12.
Speaking on Tuesday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said, “Since this matter is before a judge, we will rather wait for the court to decide.”