BusinessDay

Reps move to bar CBN govenors, deputies, directors from partisan politics

...as bill to add disqualifications of bank's chiefs passes second reading

The House of Representatives on Tuesday took steps to bar governors, deputy governors or directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from partisan politics.

This is as the House passed through second reading, a bill for an act to amend section 11 of the CBN Act, 2007 to add more conditions to the disqualification and appointment of the governor, deputy governors or directors of the apex bank.

Sponsored by Sada Soli (APC, Katsina), the proposed legislation seeks to amend the Principal Act by inserting a new subsection (f) to read that the bank’s chief shall cease to hold
office if he or she, “is a member of a political party or involve in partisan politics.”

A copy of bill sighted by BusinessDay reads: “the Central Bank of Nigeria (establishment) Act No. 7 of 2007 (in this Bill referred to as “the Principal Act”) is amended as set out in this Bill.

“Section 11(2) of the Principal Act is amended by inserting a new (f) to read thus: “is a member of a Political Party or involve in Partisan Politics”.

Leading debate on the bill, the sponsor, Soli reminded his colleagues of the provisions of Section 11 of the principal Act which states that: “a person shall not remain a governor, deputy governor or director of the bank if he is a member of any federal or state legislative house; director, officer or employee of any bank and other financial institutions.

“The governor, deputy governor and director shall cease to hold office in the bank if he is (a) incapable of carrying out his duties, (b) convicted of any criminal offense, (c) guilty of any serious misconduct in relation to his duties under this act, (d) disqualified from practicing his profession in Nigeria, (e) becomes bankrupt.

“Then (e) in the act becomes (g) to add in the principal act by inserting a section 11 (f) “if he’s a member of a political party or a partisan, or involved in partisan politics.”

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The sponsor said the proposed law is intended to restore its credibility from the shock it had suffered in the cause of interpreting the existing law, basically because of the absence of the new amendment.

He said: “This amendment is no prejudice to anybody but because the Act was tested and it was found weak, and therefore we need to strengthen the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the lender of last resort, the bank of federal republic of Nigeria to restore its credibility from the shock it has suffered in the cause of interpreting the law, basically because of the absence of what I am trying to amend.

“Why I am I doing this? Because there was a time CBN Governor went to court seeking for an interpretation whether he can participate in partisan politics. We need to address that. Today the credibility of CBN in custody of sensitive election material is being questioned. It’s not against any individual but to save the integrity of CBN.”

The proposed amendment is not unnconnected with the botched presidential ambition of Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor.

Three groups; Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Friends of Emefiele and Emefiele Support Group had picked the N100 million All Progressives Congress (APC) expression of interest and nomination forms for the CBN Governor.

Emefiele had approached the Abuja Federal High Court seeking an order to prevent attempts to stop him from the 2023 Presidency.

The CBN Governor had through his counsel, Mike Ozekhome applied for an order of ‘status quo ante bellum’ against the Independent National Electoral Commission and Attorney General of the Federation so that he would not be made to resign from office until 30 days to the general election.

Emefiele however, withdrew the suit he filed against the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Attorney-General of the Federation and consequently dumped his presidential ambition and retained the CBN governorhsip.

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