2023 Election: Ozekhome Gives Condition For Emefiele’s Resignation

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele

Mike Ozekhome, the lawyer to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has said that his client would only resign to pursue his presidential ambition on moral grounds and not on points of law.

Recall that Emefiele had through Ozekhome applied for an order of status quo ante bellum to be made against the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, not to stop him from resigning from office until 30 days to the 2023 general elections.

VANTAGE NEWS reports that Emefiele had also in an ex-parte application, denied being a political appointee but a public servant, and as such, not caught by section 84 (12) of the new Electoral Act 2022.

In an interview with The Punch, Ozekhome said his client who met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday would only resign on moral grounds and not on points of law.

He said, “Whether he (Emefiele) goes or not is his own decision, he has told me to take up the legal aspect for him, that if he wants to go at all, he is entitled to stay in office 30 days to the general elections.

“But it is now left for him to go even before the case is decided or after. But at least the law would have decided.

“Yes, it (resignation) is left for him but not because of legal requirements. If he wants to go, it will be on moral ground, not because the law says he must go now.

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“We are talking of the constitution here, we are talking of Section 137 (1g) and Section 318 of the constitution which makes him a public officer and the Court of Appeal decision that Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act is unconstitutional and that Section cannot even apply to him because Emefiele is not a political appointee within the meaning of Section 84 (12).

“If he decides to go, it will be on moral ground not on the legal or constitutional ground because the law does not say he must go. It is entirely his own decision and the decision of the President who appointed him not because that is the position of the law.

“The Court of Appeal yesterday (Wednesday) said Section 84, Sub-section 12 of the Electoral Act (as amended) is unconstitutional for being inconsistent with Section 42 Sub-section 1 of the 1999 constitution which gives the right to freedom of assembly and association.

“But our argument actually goes beyond that; our argument is that Section 84, whether it was validated or not, does not apply to Godwin Emefiele, that section applies only to political appointees, Godwin Emefiele is not a political appointee, Godwin Emefiele is a public officer within the meaning of Section 318 of the constitution of Nigeria.

“And by virtue of Section 137 Sub-section 1(g), a public officer like Emefiele is only required by the constitution to give 30 days notice before the presidential election which is slated for February 25 2023, that is the position of the law.

“The question of whether Emefiele will leave office during this case, before the case is ended or after the case, is entirely left to him and the President who appointed him. I wasn’t briefed to handle the moral and administrative angle to this case, I was briefed to handle only the legal and constitutional area and that is what I have just told you, that is the position of the law.”

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