Many Nigerians have expressed shock at the decision of human rights activist and lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, to represent the Nigerian cenbank’s boss, Godwin Emefiele, over the latter’s decision not to resign his position before joining the race for 2023 presidency.
Recall that Emefiele was widely criticised when it was made known he had purchased the N100mln nomination form to partake in the coming presidential primary on the platform of All Progressives Congress, APC.
Many Nigerians demand for his immediate resignation or outright sack by the president for what they described as an act of sabotage on the economy.
Visibly shaken Emefiele immediately ran to court, through his lawyer, Ozekhome, to seek an injunction against his disqualification stating why he should be allowed to carry on as the head of the apex bank in Nigeria.
“The plaintiff is legally competent to contest the primaries of any political parties while still serving as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in so far as he gives 30 days’ notice of his resignation, withdrawal from the services of the CBN as its governor in accordance with the provisions of section 167 and 318 of the constitution.
“That the plaintiff, as Governor of the CBN is a person employed in the public service of the federation.
“That consequently, the relevant section of the Constitution applicable to the plaintiff is Section 137(2) of the 1999 constitution as amended which provides thus: A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of the president if being a person employed in the civil or public service of the federation or of any state, he has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty days before the date of election,” the plaintiff’s lawyer said.
He contended that the constitution, which is the highest law of the land, states that his client should resign 30 days before election, not 30 days before a political party’s primaries as envisaged by Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Ozekhome further asked the court to declare that the provisions of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022, being inconsistent with Section 137 of the 1999 constitution are inconsistent and cannot be relied upon.
“A declaration that by the combined provisions of Section 84 (3) of the Electoral Act 2022 and Section 137(g) of the Constitution, which require a public officer to resign, withdraw or retire from his employment at least 30 days before presidential election, the plaintiff cannot be mandated to resign his position as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria earlier than 30 days to presidential election.”
The court rejected his bid.
Agitated by an alleged attempt to hoodwink the public, Nigerians had taken to social media to roundly castigate the lawyer.
One wrote: Mike Ozekhome is like Twitter Influencers. Anywhere the money at. I guess thats most lawyers and most influencers.
“What is the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor hiding? Mike Ozekhome only collected his own plenty dollars. Emefiele’s disqualification mustn’t end at the Court. Foreign Investors are watching the Circus. Meffy must leave the CBN to restore Trust & Confidence in the Apex Bank,” another one said.
@Chonsyy mocked, “The lawyer who filed this suit is Mike Ozekhome, who’ll later appear as a guest on Arise TV or Channels (with his parted afro-punk and carved moustache) to educate us on constitutional propriety, morality, and good governance. But then again, lawyer (even SAN) no go chop? 🤣🤣🤣”
“Someone should inform the CBN Governor that Mike Ozekhome has not won any case since Buhari “sacked” Onnoghen the Chief Justice,” another Nigerian lashed out.
Some accused the erudite lawyer of breaching the Principle of Public good.
“For those who say Mike Ozekhome is only doing his work as a lawyer, there is something called the Principle of Public good. In years to come, if scrutinized against public good, will Emefiele and Ozhekhome’s actions be hailed as contributions to or distractions from public good?” a climate change activist, Feyi Ijimakinwa, wrote.
Freelanews had reported how Ozekhome had also defended the rights of the former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, to contest the forth coming election against the dictates of the Nigerian constitution.