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Presidency: Efiele trial is a comedy, an insult to Nigerians, lawyer says

A senior Nigeria lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has called the case brought by Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele over the 2023 presidential election a “comedy” and an “insult to Nigerians “.

the punch reported that Emefiele sought an order from a Federal High Court in Abuja restraining the federal government from removing him from office due to his presidential ambition.

Emefiele, through his attorney, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, also requested an injunction on Monday pending the hearing and decision on the merits.

He also urged Judge Ahmed Mohammed to prevent the Independent National Electoral Commission from taking action against him in an effort to challenge the presidential primary by virtue of his office.

But Judge Mohammed did not grant the request. Instead, he adjourned the case until May 12 for a decision.

In a statement titled “The Comedy of Emefiele’s Case,” the lead attorney blamed the CBN Governor’s case.

He said: “Per the Supreme Court’s decision in Akinlade v INEC, no competent action filed by Mr. Emefiele is pending in court for judgment.

“The Affidavit in Support of the Originating Summons and, indeed, the Emergency Affidavit were both filed by counsel on his behalf, in flagrant violation of Rule 20 of the CPR.

“A writ of summons cannot be determined in the Federal High Court without a competent affidavit in support thereof.

“By virtue of his status, Emefiele is an employee of the CBN. Any case to determine his status or eligibility must be filed with the National Labor Court. As long as Emefiele earns a salary as a CBN employee, he shouldn’t dream of running for office while keeping his job. It is an insult to our collective psyche as a people.

“Sensitive election documents are still kept in CBN offices nationwide by INEC, unbeknownst to Nigerians that Emefiele, as CBN Governor, had been a politician all his life.

“The political party that holds the presidential ticket that Emefiele wants to seize is not a party to his trial, contrary to current laws and practices.

“I urge the Nigerian Bar Association, Election Situation Room, SERAP and other civil society organizations to call on the court to join the EMEFIELE case and end this joke.”

The CBN Governor offered the prayers in an ex parte motion dated and filed May 9 by Ozekhome, seeking an order to maintain the status quo ante bellum pending hearing and decision on the merits of the lawsuit.

While INEC is the 1st defendant, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) is the 2nd defendant in the prosecution.

Moving the motion, Ozekhome said that although his client did not tell him which political party he would like to challenge under, the request became necessary for the court to determine the constitutionality of his (Emefiele’s) decision.

“The plaintiff is a current CBN Governor. He wants to run for president of Nigeria in the 2023 elections.

“But he is in a dilemma if he can run. Can he run? If he can run, when is he due to step down as CBN Governor?

“We want the interpretation of the law as it is today,” he said.

He argued that Emefiele, under Article 318 of the 1999 Constitution, is a civil servant.
He said only political appointees fall under Section 84(12) of the Elections Act 2022, which he said was struck down by a Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia in Abia.

According to him, the case is currently on appeal and the Court of Appeal has not issued a decision.

“Even if the Court of Appeal overturns this judgment, is the plaintiff a political person? Our answer is no,” he said.

He further argued that Emefiele is only bound by Article 137 which stipulates that a civil servant must resign from office no later than 30 days before the election.

“It’s the constitution and we’re looking for a constitutional interpretation of this issue,” he said.

The judge issued an order ordering INEC and AGF to appear on Thursday to explain why Efiele’s prayers should not be answered.

He ordered that all claims, including the ex-parte, filed in the case be served on all defendants.

He also ordered that Notices of Hearing be issued to the defendants to appear on the said date to justify why the prayers should not be granted.

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