The CBN governor’s eligibility to run for political office.
The Central Bank of Nigeria Act (2007) is the legal instrument that establishes the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Office of the CBN Governor. Hence, it clearly defines the process for the appointment and removal of the CBN Governor. It also creates certain rules that regulate the activities of the holder of the office.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is an appointee by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is in accordance with Section 8 of the CBN Act (2007). However, the appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate. This can be interpreted to mean that neither the President nor the Senate has the unfettered power to act with respect to the appointment of a CBN Governor independent of the other.
Section 9 of the CBN Act is very clear on what is expected of a CBN Governor during the pendency of his tenure. The provision states that “The Governor and the Deputy Governors shall devote the whole of their time to the service of the Bank and while holding office shall not engage in any full or part-time employment or vocation whether remunerated or not except such personal or charitable causes as may be determined by the Board and which do not detract from their full-time duties.”
He prayed the court to invoke section 318 of the 1999 Constitution to restrain the defendants from asking him to vacate office until 30 days to the February 2023 Presidential election.
- Mr Emefiele instituted the suit via an ex-parte application challenging the attempt to disqualify and exclude him from participating in the party’s presidential primaries scheduled for May 30.
- In an affidavit of urgency seen by Nairametrics, Mr Emefiele argued that he is not a political appointee and by the provision of the constitution, he is expected to resign a month before the presidential election.
- He stated in the affidavit that he will suffer irreparable damage if the suit is not urgently determined as the party’s primaries come up in less than a month.
He sought among others the following reliefs.
- “A declaration that the Plaintiff can only be governed by or subject to the provisions of section 137(1) (g) and 318 of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), which require a public officer seeking election into a political office to resign, withdraw or retire from his appointment at least 30 days to the presidential election, rather than by the provisions of section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 or the guidelines, rules, criteria, measures or conditions made by the plaintiffs political party or any political party.
- “A declaration that the Plaintiff can validly participate in the primary election of a 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).
What the judge ruled
In his ruling, Justice Ahmed Mohammed declined to grant the order but in turn, ordered him to put the defendants on notice and also serve court processes on the defendants.
The judge ordered AGF and INEC to appear before the court on May 12 and show cause why Mr Emefiele’s request should not be granted.