Senate begins move to ban CBN governor from partisan politics

A bill seeking to ban serving CBN governor and deputies from seeking political offices has passed the second reading at the Senate.

The Nigerian Senate has begun a move to prohibit serving Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governors and deputies from participating in partisan politics.

Recall the erstwhile CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had caused some ruckus when he attempted to vie for the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential ticket while in office.

A group purchased the party’s presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest forms for Emefiele, a development that attracted widespread criticism as many Nigerians and groups called for his resignation or sack by the then-President, Muhammadu Buhari.

He later approached a court seeking clarification on his eligibility to contest for president without resigning his position as the CBN governor. The court ruled against him.

Meanwhile, two similar bills passed a second reading on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, in a bid to prevent a reoccurrence of the Emefiele scenario.

One of the bills titled, ‘Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) (Amendment) Bill 2023’ was sponsored by Senator Steve Karimi (APC – Kogi West), while the other one titled, ‘A Bill to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007, and for matters connected therewith 2023,’ was sponsored by Senator Darlington Nwokocha (LP – Abia Central).

While debating on the bills, the lawmakers proposed further amendments to Section 9 to insulate the CBN governor and deputies from engaging in partisan politics while in office.

The two senators also proposed that the Chairmen of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN) and Auditor-General of the Federation (AGF) be represented on the board of the CBN.

For his part, Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC- Edo North), who opposed the second reading, argued that the case of the immediate past CBN governor was a consequence of the absence of governance and the will to enforce the extant laws.

Jibrin Barau, the Deputy Senate President who presided over plenary, gave the Senate Committee on Banking and Finance two weeks to report on the CBN Amendment Bill.

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