A Federal High Court in Abuja has refused to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, from preventing Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, from pursuing his presidential ambition while leading the apex bank.
Emefiele had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/610/2022 and filed on May 5 asked the court to declare him eligible to participate in the 2023 presidential election.
In the suit filed through Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), he is praying for a declaration that he is not bound to resign to participate in a primary election to select a presidential candidate.
The CBN Governor is the sole plaintiff in the suit, with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation as respondents.
He also prayed the court to determine whether Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022 is not inconsistent with Section 137 (1)(G) of the 1999 Constitution.
The suit was filed two days before the CBN governor said he had not made up his mind to run for the office of the president.
Three support groups purportedly bought him the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination form worth N100 million.
Part of the grounds of the application reads: “That the plaintiff has aspiration to seek election to the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and participate as a candidate in the upcoming 2023 elections.
“That section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 provides 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’.
“That the plaintiff verily believes that he is not affected by these provisions, as he is not a political appointee as envisaged by the above provisions of section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“That the Central Bank of Nigeria is entirely (100 per cent) owned by the Nigerian Federal Government, and therefore constitutes a government agency with the meaning and intendment of Section 318 of 1999 Constitution.”
Ruling on Monday, the court summonsed INEC leadership and AGF to appear before it on May 12, to show cause on why status quo antebellum, should not be granted to the CBN Governor.