Supreme court ruling: States plan contempt proceedings against Malami, Emefiele
Some state governments are planning to initiate contempt proceedings against the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, over their refusal to implement the Supreme Court judgment on the naira redesign policy of the Federal Government.
According reports Friday, the Federal Government was served with the enrolled order and Certified True Copy of last week’s Supreme Court judgment, which also ordered that the old N1,000, N500 and N200 should be in circulation alongside the new notes till December 31, 2023.
It was gathered that the non-service of the enrolled order and the CTC of the judgment was responsible for the failure of the Federal Government to direct Emefiele to roll out the old notes already withdrawn from circulation.
The silence of President Muhammadu Buhari on the judgment of the apex court had fuelled the rejection of the remaining old N1,000 and N500 as legal tender.
On Monday, some banks commenced paying customers the old notes in partial compliance with the Supreme Court judgment, but by Wednesday the banks stopped disbursing the old notes as the CBN insisted that it had not given any directive to that effect.
The enrolled order and the CTC of the judgment were served on the AGF on Friday afternoon, according to report.
Counsel for Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states, which dragged the Federal Government before the Supreme Court on the matter, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN), told one of our correspondents in a telephone interview that Malami was served with the enrolled order and the CTC of the judgment on Friday afternoon, adding that he expected immediate compliance with the judgment as the non-service of the documents had given the government and the CBN an escape route.
Mustapha said, “The Attorney-General of the Federation has been served now and we will take it up from there; if there is no compliance now, we will commence committal proceedings against the attorney-general and the CBN governor. When the Supreme Court talks, the constitution makes it compulsory for all government representatives and everybody to comply with its order. It’s not discretional, you have to obey, it is the last and the final and that is why we have separation of power.
“The presence of separation of power is for checks and balances; when the Supreme Court talks, it must be complied with by all persons.”
The lawyer had earlier said, “We are waiting for the enrolled order of the court. We are yet to procure it. As soon as we have it, we will take the next step. When the Supreme Court talks, all organs of government comply and if they don’t comply, the rules are clear. We are going to activate the necessary legal steps within the ambit of the law. But we need to get the enrolled order and serve the defendants. That’s where we are.
“Anytime from now, we will be able to get the enrolled order and the Certified True Copy of the judgement, then we will take it up from there. But I can assure you, our clients are monitoring the situation and we will take appropriate steps at the right time.”
On what the next step would be if there was still no compliance after serving the AGF the enrolled order and the CTC, Mustapha said, “Courts deal with live issues and not speculations. When we get to the bridge, we will cross it.”
State governors, senior lawyers and other stakeholders had since the judgment was delivered been calling on Buhari to direct the CBN governor to direct commercial banks to start giving out the old notes alongside the new ones in order to ease the scarcity of the naira that has crippled the economy.
Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, among others, had condemned the silence of the President and Emefiele on the judgment.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Agim, the seven-member panel of the apex court held that Buhari breached the constitution in the manner he issued directives for the redesigning of the naira.
On the disobedience of the Supreme Court’s earlier order on the new notes, Justice Agim said Buhari’s broadcast of February 16, 2023 that only the N200 note should remain legal tender made the country’s democracy look like a mere pretension.
Justice Agim stated, “Let me consider the issue of the President’s disobedience of the 8-2-2023 interim order that the new and old versions of naira notes continue to circulate as legal tender until the determination of the pending application for interlocutory injunction. It is not in dispute that the 1st defendant refused to obey the said order.
“The President’s 16-2-2023 national broadcast reproduced here in pages 27-31 demonstrates this disobedience. In disobedience of the order, he directed that only the old N200 naira notes be re-circulated. Interestingly, there is nothing to show the implementation of even that directive. I agree with the 9th plaintiff that the 1st defendant is not entitled to be heard by this court when it has effused to respect the authority of this court and the authority of law from which the authority of the President and the government of Nigeria derives.
“The rule of law upon which our democratic governance is founded becomes illusory if the President of the country or any authority or person refuses to obey the orders of courts. The disobedience of orders of courts by the President in a constitutional democracy as ours is a sign of the failure of the constitution and that democratic governance has become a mere pretension and is now replaced by autocracy or dictatorship.”
The court also dismissed the preliminary objections by the AGF as well as those of Bayelsa and Edo states, and stated that it had jurisdiction to entertain the suit.
Naira scarcity worsens
Meanwhile, it was gathered on Friday that cash had dried up in most banks in Lagos and Ogun states due to what senior bankers described as the inability of the CBN to supply them with new naira notes.
A branch manager of a Tier-1 bank said that his branch last received cash last week Tuesday, adding that bankers were also frustrated about the currency crisis affecting the nation.
The Lagos-based branch manager said, “There have been no supplies of new naira notes to my branch and other neighbouring branches this week. The last supply we got was N5m last week Monday and another N5m the following day. Members of our bullion van team have been on standby throughout this week awaiting signals to come to the CBN to pick cash, but there has been no signal. The N10m we got last week didn’t last up to Wednesday.
“Following the Supreme Court judgment, we were initially paying out the old N1,000 and N500 notes deposited with us and which had not been deposited with the CBN to desperate customers, but we had to stop when the customers came back to complain that people were not accepting the old notes from them.”
Another senior banker corroborated this, adding that his first generation bank had not been supplied new naira notes to disburse to customers.
He said, “Even me as a banker, I can only boast of N100 as I am speaking to you. We have not been supplied with cash this week. The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Instant Payment platform is not working; the digital payment systems are overwhelmed. When you see crowds at our branches now, we are not giving them cash, what we are doing is to deal with complaints arising from digital payments.
“I think it is deliberate not to supply naira notes to the banks because the government and the CBN don’t want politicians to mop them up. Politicians are desperately looking for cash to pay their agents now. I know of a candidate for the Lagos State House of Assembly, who has launched a passionate appeal to his friends to raise money to pay his party agents, who were not paid after the presidential and National Assembly elections and threatened not to take part in the governorship and state House of Asse
An operations manager in one of the commercial banks said his branch had been unable to dispense cash to customers because it did not have any. She explained that her branch had not received any cash from the headquarters in the last one month, and that the most recent any of the nearby branches received cash was two weeks ago.
“The cash scarcity is getting worse. Even as a bank worker, I don’t have cash to spend. We have not been receiving money from the headquarters and so we have nothing to give to customers,” she added.
Asked if they had a directive to dispense the old notes in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling, she said, “No, there is no communication from our headquarters in that regard. We have some old notes that customers deposited, which we can pay for now, but we don’t have an instruction to disburse them.
“Ordinarily, people expected the banks to start paying the old notes immediately after the Supreme Court ruled on the matter on March 3, but we needed a directive from the CBN through our headquarters to do that. So, the challenge is three-pronged; the CBN did not release the old notes for us to circulate; we don’t have the authorisation to dispense the old notes we have in our vault; and the CBN has refused to supply us new notes. That is what is responsible for the scarcity everywhere.
“The last time my branch received old notes was early February, about a month ago. Our zonal branch received N3m from the headquarters, and under that zone, we have eight branches. By the time that was shared between the eight branches, what got to the branches was insignificant and it didn’t even last a day. Don’t forget that the bankers are also cash-strapped.”
Why I fell out with Ibori and refused to accept his candidate as my successor – Okowa
The immediate past governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, has addressed his fallout with his former boss and governor of the state, James Ibori.
Okowa and Ibori have been at loggerheads since the Delta Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in 2022.
Ibori had supported David Edevbie, a commissioner of finance in his administration, while Okowa threw his weight behind Sheriff Oborevwori, former speaker of the state house of assembly.
Oborevwori eventually won the primary and subsequently triumphed in the governorship election. He was sworn into office on Monday.
Okowa said Ibori’s insistence on backing Edevbie resulted in a disagreement between them
‘I WAS SURPRISED AND DECEIVED’
Speaking with newsmen on Sunday, Okowa opened up on why he opposed Ibori’s choice and resolved to pitch his tent with Oborevwori.
Okowa said Edevbie had tricked him into believing he would respect the Delta PDP zoning provision ahead of the governorship election in 2015.
The immediate past Delta governor said he shared his reservation about Edevbie with Ibori — but the latter was unmoved.
Okowa and Edevbie were commissioners in the Ibori administration.
“I don’t like to talk about it but obviously there’s no doubt that we didn’t work together,” Okowa said“We went into the primaries not agreeing on the same candidate, we talked about it but he(Ibori) did not want to shift ground on his candidate. That’s the truth and I did not agree with that candidate for basic reasons which I made clear enough to him and also to his own candidate.
“I did not hide it. Till tomorrow, I speak about it in truth not because I thought I was a god that needed to install somebody. David Edevbie is my friend. We were with the former governor in his tenure together as commissioners, but in 2014, when it became obvious that it was the turn of the Delta North — Delta Central and Delta South had had their turns — I heard that David was going to run and he was indicating interest.
“I went from Abuja with three of my friends to visit him in Lagos — and I said ‘David, please, it’s only fair, I know that there are so many people competing but I’m coming to you as a friend. It will not be fair if you run. Governor James Ibori has been there, Governor Uduaghan has been there, it’s obviously the turn of the Delta North; why don’t you allow us to have our space so that we can all be said to be part of the state? Thereafter, we can all work for you to become governor’.
“And at the end, he said ‘I will not run anymore, I will support you’. I thanked him and left back to Abuja.”
Okowa, who was a senator at the time, said Edevbie went against his word and was holding secret meetings with stakeholders, strategising on how to become governor.
“And then suddenly, next thing we heard was that they had endorsed David but this same David had committed himself to me,” he added.
“So we went into the race, a very tough race but God enabled me to win.”
‘EDEVBIE CAN’T ENJOY ZONING HE NEVER SUPPORTED’
Although Okowa appointed Edevbie as a commissioner in his cabinet, he said the latter still proceeded with his plans on how to become the next governor.
“In the second year, I started hearing that he was holding meetings in Lagos and other places where they were already prepping him to be governor without anybody discussing with me,” Okowa said.
The PDP vice-presidential candidate noted that although the zoning rules meant the governorship seat, in 2023, would go to Delta Central — Edevbie’s zone — he was adamant that the former commissioner would not be a beneficiary.
“In the first instance, he did not want the zoning to Delta North, so if the zoning was going to continue, he’s my friend but he shouldn’t be the one to benefit from the zoning he did not want,” Okowa said.
“I’m careful in what I do so it will be difficult for me to support someone outside Delta Central but my only mindset is that somebody who did not believe in the zoning cannot be the one to benefit from it and I made it clear to the former governor.”
Okowa said Ibori met with him a few days before the primary election to reach a compromise on a fresh candidate — but he noted that it was too little, too late.
“I told him it would be difficult to withdraw support from my candidate. I don’t do things like that,” Okowa said.
Oborevwori defeated Ovie Omo-Agege, the APC candidate and former deputy speaker of the house of representatives, to clinch the governorship seat.
Sanwo-Olu kicks off second term with optimism for better Lagos
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, officially commenced his second term in office following the completion of his swearing-in by the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba.
Sanwo-Olu was optimistic that the best days of the state and its inhabitants lie ahead.
The governor, who noted that his administration had set the stage for transformative change, as well as confronted significant challenges, said: “We never faltered. Our challenges became stepping-stones; and our trials the foundation of our resilience.
“As we continue to write the story of Lagos State, let us embrace the spirit of inclusiveness and harmonious coexistence, for it is this spirit that makes us truly ‘Eko’.
“I can boldly say that we have had four fulfilling years. We have learnt a lot, we have made some mistakes, and we have also implemented many transformational policies and programmes.
“We assure you that the progress we have made will not be reversed. We will remain steadfast in our mission to make Lagos State a model of good governance, a beacon of hope and opportunity for all. Our path is clear, and our resolve is unshakeable.
“As we venture into this second term, I want to assure you that the spirit of our endeavours remains unfaltering. We will continue to tackle our challenges head-on and celebrate our successes. We will harness the potential of our greatest resource – our people.
“We stand on the threshold of a new era. Our vision for Lagos is one that sees no bounds. It is a vision of a city where dreams take flight, where every citizen is a part of our growth story, and where the global community looks towards us with respect and admiration.”
He, therefore, pledged to continue to build a Lagos that is not only a commercial nerve centre but also a hub for innovation, culture and sustainable development.
Sanwo-Olu, who maintained that he and his team would welcome constructive criticism, noted that democracy thrives on differences of opinion and belief, therefore he would strive to respect the opinions of others even as he expects the same from them.
“We will strive to communicate effectively and carry you along every step of the way.
“Let me also say that the work ahead is not for government alone. It is not the exclusive responsibility of public servants, or the civil service. We all share the responsibility of our state’s future.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Head of Service, Akeem Muri-Okunola, said that the re-election of Sanwo-Olu was a testimony of the works done under the T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda.
He noted that the governor was able to delete despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the EndSARs crisis, adding that the governor showed courage and tenacity during these periods.
He also noted that the success recorded at the polls showed that Sanwo-Olu’s efforts did not go unnoticed by the electorate. This is aside his efforts attracted international accolades.
Muri-Okunola asked that the residents of the state should commit the leadership of Lagos to prayer for more success in the next four years. At the ceremony held at the Tafawa Balewa Square were family members of the governor and his duputy, former cabinet members, serving and former permanent secretaries, party leaders and council chairmen.
Meet the 28 new, returning governors
Congratulations are in order, it would seem, as more than two dozen states inaugurated the winners of their March 18 governorship elections and April 15 reruns. Today, they took their oaths of office with expectations of them as high as ever.
But the epoch-making events did not include eight states — that is, Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo, and Osun — for which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct off-cycle elections at various times within the next three years to determine their governors.
Making up the “Class of 2023” governors are 18 newbies and 10 returnees — despite a handful of them still in the process of defending their victories at their respective Election Petitions Tribunals.
Here is a quick look at each one of “Their Excellencies” who made history today:
Turning A New Page
Alex Otti (Abia): The Isiala-ngwa native has served as a Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank Plc. After losing to outgoing governor Okezie Ikpeazu of the PDP in the 2015 and 2019 elections, the 58-year-old won by a landslide this year, as the candidate of the Labour Party.
Abia State Governor Alex Otti. (Photo:
Umo Eno (Akwa Ibom): The 59-year-old founder of All Nations Christian Ministry International served as the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources. He was elected under the PDP with the full backing of outgoing governor Udom Emmanuel.
Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia (Benue): After earning a Diploma in Religious studies (1987) from St. Augustine’s Major Seminary, Jos and a BA in Sacred Theology (1990), he was ordained a Catholic Priest on July 7, 1990. The 57-year-old was elected under the APC.
Benue Governor, Fr Hyacinth Alia
Bassey Otu (Cross River): Since 2003, he has represented the Calabar Municipal/Odukpani in the House of Representatives and Cross River South. He defected from the PDP to the APC in 2016 and now assumes office as governor at the age of 63.
Sheriff Oborevwori (Delta): Oborevwori, 60, has served as a member of the Delta State House of Assembly under the PDP since 2015. He held office as the speaker in 2017 after Monday Igbuya’s impeachment and was re-elected in 2019 as the representative of Okpe State Constituency.
Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi): This two-term speaker of the Ebonyi State legislature hails from Oferekpe Agbaja in the Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State. The 48-year old takes over with the exit of outgoing governor Dave Umahi.
Francis Ogbonna Nwifuru
Peter Mbah (Enugu): The founder and CEO of Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd, he comes from Owo under the Nkanu East LGA. The maritime lawyer and financial analyst, 51, triumphed at the Enugu poll as the PDP candidate.
Enugu State Governor Peter Mbah
Umar Namadi (Jigawa): Having served as the deputy governor of Jigawa State from 2019 to date, the sexagenarian levels up to replace his principal, Mohammed Abubakar. He is the founder of Namadi, Umar & Co Chartered Accountants firm and pioneer Head of Dangote Group Management Accounts Department.
Uba Sani (Kaduna): The 52-year-old’s political background includes his service as Kaduna Central senator from 2019 till 2023. He is also a former National Vice Chairman (North) of Campaign for Democracy.
Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Uba Sani
Abba Yusuf (Kano): This civil engineering graduate of Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Gongola State (now Adamawa) served as Kano State Commissioner of Works, Housing and Transport between 2011 and 2015. At 60, he is the first NNPP governor.
Governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf, gives his acceptance speech in Kano following his victory in the March 18 governorship poll in the state.
Dikko Radda (Katsina): He is a former director-general of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and served as APC National Welfare Secretary soon after the party was formed in 2013. The 53-year-old succeeds Aminu Masari.
Nasir Idris (Kebbi): He held office as a national president of the Nigerian Union of Teachers and deputy president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Idris. Aged 57, he was elected in the recent elections as the APC candidate.
Umar Bago (Niger): After years of experience in the banking sector, he won a seat in the House of Representatives in 2011. The 49-year-old graduate of Federal University of Technology Minna contested for Speaker in the 9th National Assembly, emerging as the runner-up to eventual winner Femi Gbajabiamila.
Caleb Mutfwang (Plateau): The 58-year-old is a former LGA Chairman of Mangu, Plateau State. His administration sees the state’s return to the PDP after eight years under the APC’s Simon Lalong.
Siminalayi Fubara (Rivers): Until his emergence as the Rivers PDP governorship candidate in 2022, Fubara was the former accountant general of the state. The native of Opobo Town in Opobo/Nkoro LGA of Rivers State coasted to victory at the recent polls.
Ahmad Aliyu (Sokoto): This 53-year-old was the deputy governor of Sokoto State from 2015 until his resignation in 2018. He has also served as a chief accountant at the Local Government Service Commission, a commissioner and the Executive Secretary of the Police Trust Fund.
Kefas Agbu (Taraba): He is a retired army lieutenant colonel with 21 years of service. At the age of 52, Agbu has experience serving as chairman of the governing board of directors at Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and as a member of the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative (2016-2019).
Dauda Lawal (Zamfara): A banker, the 57-year-old holds a PhD in business administration from Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and was former CBN governor Lamido Sanusi’s special adviser on Islamic banking.
The Final Chapter
Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa): The 55-year-old was Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly between 2014 and 2015. The impeachment of Governor Murtala Nyako in July 2014 led to his emergence as acting governor, serving until 1 October 2014. He was elected in 2019 by a hair’s breadth, a scenario which seemed to play out again this year.
Prior to becoming governor of Bauchi State in 2019, he was minister of the FCT from 2010 to 2015, and Senator for Bauchi South from 2007 to 2010. At 64, he has held several prominent roles including as Principal Administration Officer in the Presidency from 1994 till 1995.
Babagana Zulum (Borno): After joining the University of Maiduguri in 2000, he rose to the rank of professor and acting Dean, Faculty of Engineering by 2011. He served as Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement from 2015 till 2018 and was elected as governor under the APC in 2019. He is 53 years old.
Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe): The 61-year-old served as managing director of A.Y.U Civil Engineering Company Ltd from 1993 to 1999 and was appointed as Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development in 2003. Though he was the Gombe APC governorship candidate in 2015, it wasn’t until the 2019 election that he would win his first term.
AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara): As the Congress for Progressive Change candidate, he lost a string of governorship elections between 2003 and 2011. Since joining the APC, the now-63-year-old’s tenacity appears to have paid off as he takes the oath for his second and final term.
Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos): The inauguration of the former Lagos State Property Development Corporation boss comes on the heels of perhaps the most heated governorship race the state has ever seen. In the wake of a markedly violent, ethnically charged election, the 57-year-old is hoping to close out his tenure, while ensuring the state remains in the APC’s firm grasp.
Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa): From 1989, he worked for several companies in the US before returning to Nigeria in 2000 to co-found Sadiq Petroleum Nigeria Limited. The company won a bid to acquire African Petroleum (AP) Plc and he became the CEO of AP in 2001. Before running in 2019, he was announced as substantive Group Managing Director (GMD) of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc.
Dapo Abiodun (Ogun): Prior to his assumption of office, he founded First Power Limited and served as managing director of Heyden Petroleum as well as board chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission. He is 62 years old.
Seyi Makinde (Oyo): In 1997, he established Makon Engineering and Technical Services (METS) at the age of 29, after having earned years of work experience at international oil and gas companies. His victory in 2019 under the PDP came after his 2015 loss as the SDP candidate. He is now aged 55.
Mai Mala Buni (Yobe): After completing his secondary education, he ventured into business at a young age and returned to school years later, receiving his Diploma from the College of Vocational Science and Technology in 2012. Two years later, the entrepreneur turned politician became the first elected APC National Secretary. At 55 years of age, he has also served as Caretaker Chairman of the party (2020-2022).
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