Fresh facts have emerged on why the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, withdrew the suit he filed against the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Attorney-General of the Federation over his presidential ambition.
A competent source told The PUNCH on Tuesday night that Emefiele withdrew the case based on his agreement with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd ), that he should continue his job as CBN governor and forget the Presidency.
The source said, “Emefiele instructed his lawyers to discontinue the matter, and the lawyer complied. He had briefed his lawyers to handle the matter, and a lawyer acted on the instruction of his client.
“The lawyers have withdrawn the case, I think based on his agreement with President Muhammadu Buhari to better stay back as Governor of CBN instead of going for the Presidency, I think that’s why.
“When they discontinued it, the party that wanted to join, one Martin Aikpokpo, asked for a dismissal of the case and N1 million cost, which the court rejected.
“Justice Ahmed Mohammed rejected the request; the AGF asked for N1 million cost, which the court also rejected. So what the court did was merely strike out the suit without any order as to cost.”
Emefiele had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja for an order restraining the defendants from preventing or hindering his participation in the process of the presidential election slated for February next year.
He had expressed the fear that any political party he chooses to affiliate with to realise his political ambition may disqualify him based on the provisions of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which barred political appointees from participating in the congresses and conventions of political parties unless he resigned 30 days to such conventions and congresses.
He argued that by being a public servant, he could not be barred from participating in the political primaries of the All Progressives Congress by Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
He had submitted that constitutional provisions stipulated that he can only resign his appointment as Governor of CBN 30 days to the presidential election he is interested in contesting.
Amongst the court processes he filed before the court was an application for the maintenance of status, which he predicated on the fact that he would be prejudiced against or hurt if the court did not restrain the defendants from taking any step that would jeopardise his desire to contest the presidential election.”
Emefiele’s lawyer, Dr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), had on May 12 told The PUNCH that he would only resign on moral grounds and not on points of law.
He, however, said the decision to quit would be left to Buhari and the CBN governor.