A civil society organisation, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, against the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, over his participation in politics and presidential ambition while still in office.
HEDA in a Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/713/2022, filed on May 24, 2022, is seeking an interpretation of section 9 of the CBN Act 2007, to determine the fate of Emefiele in his political ambition and continuation as the CBN Governor.
The Defendants in the suit include Godwin Emefiele as the first defendant; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the second defendant; President Muhammadu Buhari as the third defendant and the Attorney General of Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) as the fourth defendant.
HEDA, according to its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, asked the Federal High Court to order the defendants to enter an appearance or cause appearance to be entered for them by a legal practitioner before the court within thirty (30) days including the day the order was issued.
Referring to section 9 of the CBN Act 2007, HEDA in the suit sought an interpretation on whether Emefiele as the CBN governor is allowed to engage in other business or partisan politics.
The organisation also sought to know whether Emefiele’s prolonged silence on the steps being taken on his behalf by his political friends and allies towards the 2023 general elections does not conflict with his duties and responsibilities as the Governor of CBN, and whether he is not statutorily barred from participating in politics by virtue of his position.
HEDA further sought an interpretation to know whether Emefiele by being a registered member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and having declared interest to run for the post of president of Nigeria does not put him in a conflicting situation with his role as the CBN Governor.
In addition, the organisation also seeks an interpretation to know whether Emefiele’s membership of a political party does not give President Buhari a valid reason to relieve him of his position as the CBN Governor, and whether Emefiele’s participation in politics is not in a conflict with his role as the custodian of electoral materials for the elections.
Also required the court’s interpretation is whether Emefiele’s being a registered member of the ruling APC with presidential ambition does not put the electoral process in a difficult position with his role as the Chairman of the Board of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company responsible for printing some of the electoral materials by virtue of being the CBN Governor.
In a case where the above points are interpreted in favour of HEDA, the organisation prays the Court to declare that Emefiele’s engagement in partisan politics contravenes Section 9 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, and such, should order his removal as the CBN governor “in accordance with Section 1 1(2)(c) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007,” and an Order Of Perpetual Injunction restraining him from parading himself as such.
HEDA also prays the court to issue an Order of Perpetual Injunction against restraining Emefiele from being appointed into any public office in the federation “for ridiculing the high level of trust placed on him as the Governor” of CBN.
“HEDA has maintained that if the Defendant does not respond within the time given, such order would be made and proceedings may be taken as the judge may think just expedient,” Suraju stated.