The Federal High Court Abuja on Monday refused to grant a restraining order requested by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), on his presidential ambition.
However, the Court directed INEC and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to appear on May 12 and show cause why a motion exparte filed by the CBN Governor should not be granted.
The motion, which was filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN on Monday urged the court to direct all relevant authorities to maintain status quo till the main suit challenging the unconstitutionality of Section 84(12) of the Election Act 2022 vis-a-vis 137 of the 1999 constitution is interpreted.
Making a strong representation for all the authorities not to do anything to jeopardise Emefiele’s ambition, Ozekhome reminded the court of the provisions of INEC with regards to its timetable for the political parties, particularly the All Progressives Congress (APC), on which platform the CBN boss, wanted to run.
He said: “By Wednesday, 11 May, 2022, the timeline for collecting the form for expression of interest will expire. The timeline for the congresses and conventions of the political parties for the presidential election which he is interested in (the primaries) comes up on the 30 May.
“The motion is seeking that the court should grant an order for maintenance of status quo. Let my lord not allow anybody to do anything against the interest of my client, Ozekhome prayed the court.
Ozekhome, who told Mohammed that his client was in a “dilemma” going by Section 84 12 of the Election Act and associated litigation, had filed other processes, including an originating summons, a motion for the abridgement of time because of the urgency of the matter and an affidavit of urgency.
He said: “The plaintiff is the current Governor of CBN, he desires to run for the office of the president in the election coming up in February 23, 2023. But he is in a dilemma, can he run? By the way, this Electoral Act has been struck down by the Justice Evelyn of the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia. The matter is currently on appeal.”
Urging the court to answer if the CBN boss was affected even if the Court of Appeal upturned that trial judgement, he said: “We seek constitutional interpretation of this.”
Muhammed, while giving the order, said: “Having listened to the learned senior advocate and having read the affidavit in support, an order is hereby made directing the defendants to appear on 12 May (12pm) and show cause why the motion exparte seeking maintenance of status quo should not be granted by this court. An order is made to serve the court processes on the defendants.”