Court Refuses Emefiele’s Request To Stop INEC, AGF From Disqualifying Him

CBN’s Emefiele loses bid to secure a court order to back his presidential ambition, at least until May 12.

Mr. Emefiele’s lawyer begged the court to stop INEC and the AGF from disqualifying him from contesting for the presidential ticket of any political party of his choice ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, refused to shield the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emiefele, from being disqualified to contest for the presidential ticket of any political party ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Mr. Emefiele’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, earlier on Monday, urged the court to issue an interim order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from disqualifying him from participating in the primary election of his preferred political party.

But ruling on the ex parte application, the judge, Ahmed Mohammed, ruled that he would rather order INEC and the AGF to appear to state their side of the case instead of granting the CBN governor’s request.

The judge said having read the affidavit in support of the motion, it was more appropriate to direct the defendants to appear in court on May 12, to show cause why Mr. Emefiele’s request should not be granted.

The court also ordered that Mr. Emefiele’s filings should be served on the defendants before the next hearing date.

Mr. Ozekhome filed the ‘ex-parte’ application on May 9 (Monday) for an order of a court for maintenance of status quo, fearing that Mr. Emefiele might be disqualified from running in the presidential primaries.

Monday’s proceedings

At the sitting on Monday, Mr. Ozekhome argued that by Wednesday, May 11, the timeline for the collection of expression of interest form for the presidential poll will expire.

“The timeline for the primaries, congresses, or conventions of political parties for the presidential election which the applicant is interested in, comes up on the 30th of May and June 1.

“We are not asking for an injunction, but due to the urgency of the matter, the applicant needs the protection and canopy of justice to stop the matter from being rendered nugatory and a fait accompli foisted on the applicant if the court does not issue an order,” he said.

An affidavit of urgency in support of the exparte application stated that the Plaintiff/Applicant is the current Governor of the CBN and “desires to contest election for the office of the President in 2023.

According to Mr. Ozekhome, “The applicant is in a dilemma as to whether to run for the 2023 presidential election or not and therefore has come to court for interpretation of section 318 of the Constitution.

“Being a public servant, is the applicant a political appointee that is also cut in the web of section 84(12) of the Electoral Act?

Mr. Ozekhome also argued that the said section 84(12) of the Electoral Act has been struck down by Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court Umuahia.

“Though, the matter is on appeal,” Mr. Emefiele’s lawyer acknowledged.

Mr. Ozekhome argued that the constitution, which is the grand norm of the land, permits a political appointee with an ambition to contest an election to do so at least 30 days before the election.

He, therefore, urged the court to order the maintenance of status quo, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

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