The governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had headed to a Federal High Court in Abuja to seek a constitutional interpretation on his non-resignation while pursuing his political interests.
This is coming as the Chairman of Ward 6 in the Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, Mr Nduka Erikpume, confirmed that the CBN governor had registered as an APC member.
When asked whether Emefiele had registered in the APC, Erikpume said, “Yes, he has registered since February 2021. He is our member.”
However, sources said that the CBN governor had reached out to a constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Dr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), to seek interpretation of the constitution and public service rules on public servants seeking elective positions while in office.
A highly placed source in the CBN said the case had been scheduled for today (Monday).
He said, “Emefiele has just briefed Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) as his lawyer. He has just filed a case in court and is coming up tomorrow (today, Monday).”
Although the details of the suit were still sketchy Sunday night, another source in the APC said Ozekhome was taking up the matter “for certain constitutional interpretations.”
Three interest groups – the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Friends of Emefiele and Emefiele Support Group – last week paid N100m for the APC presidential expression of interest and nominations forms for Emefiele.
But the CBN governor, in a tweet on Saturday, said he was still waiting for God’s direction, adding that he would purchase the N100m forms himself if he entered the presidential race.
He said that he would continue to serve the country in his capacity as CBN governor until he received divine counsel to contest for a higher office.
But a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kunle Adegoke, on Sunday, said the CBN governor should resign his appointment and become a politician if he intended to contest in the 2023 general elections.
He said, “The governor of the central bank is expected to be impartial and not be driven by his own personal interests or the interests of a political party. Emefiele, as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, represents all Nigerians and in that capacity, he is obliged under the constitution to serve each person irrespective of their political party or affiliation.
“With that evident, it would be grossly irresponsible for anybody to be agitating for the CBN governor to join politics. The CBN governor is not entitled as a citizen of Nigeria to contest for a political office, but where he desires to do so, he will have to resign his appointment and become a politician, strictly speaking.
“The honourable thing for him to do is to resign if he is the one behind all these calls for him to come and contest. Where he is not the one, he ought to have come out earlier than now because we could see on social media, the branded vehicles and then the claim that farmers have spent N100m to buy him a nomination form of the All Progressives Congress. That is questionable. The few farmers who are debtors under the Anchors Borrowers’ Programme cannot now be deploying their resources towards this.
“That also questions the integrity of funds and the whole ABP project. Emefiele is supposed to stay away from such things that will lead to unnecessary scandals.”
Another SAN, Babatunde Ogala, said that it was inappropriate for a CBN governor to be involved in politics, adding that Emefiele “should resign now or be removed.”
On whether it was within Emefiele’s rights to run for office, Ogala said, “That means Chairman of INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission), Chief of Army Staff and the Inspector-General of Police can also pick up forms and decide to run. It is immoral and a joke taken too far. He shouldn’t ridicule our country. Where is that done?
“The CBN governor, the one who is supposed to manage our treasury, is getting himself distracted by politics. It is inappropriate. Emefiele should resign now. If he wants to join politics, let him go into politics. He shouldn’t sit down as the head of the treasury and be talking politics when he should be concentrating. That means he’s a card-carrying member of a political party. It’s unacceptable.”
When brought to his notice that Emefiele is a card-carrying member of the APC, Ogala called for the immediate resignation of the CBN governor.
Similarly, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, kicked against the alleged presidential ambition of the CBN governor.
Adegboruwa, who stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, stressed that his action was also not in tandem with his position as the governor of the CBN.
He noted, “Under Section 1 of the CBN Act, the governor of the central bank ought to maintain the autonomy and independence of the financial institution in order to subject itself to political manipulations.
“If the CBN governor is interested in partisan politics, he has to give up the position as the governor of the regulatory and apex bank in Nigeria. This is because his action will throw the autonomy of the CBN under political influence.
“As a member of the APC, Mr Emefiele is under the national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu. As a member of the party, he is also under the secretary of the party, Iyiola Omisore. How does a person regulating the activities of banks become a servant to politicians, who have disputes with these banks and have loans hanging on their necks?
“Also, Under Section 6 of the CBN Act, the person occupying the position of the governor should not pursue any vocation that will result in a conflict of interest. Therefore, pursuing presidential ambition is in conflict with his position as the governor of CBN.”