Cardoso ordered to appear before Kogi guber tribunal today

Adebisi Aikulola
Adebisi Aikulola
Olayemi Cardoso

The Kogi state governorship election petition tribunal has ordered Olayemi Cardoso, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to appear before it on Tuesday.

A three-member panel of justices led by Ado Birnin-Kudu agreed with Alex Izinyon, counsel to Usman Ododo, governor of Kogi State, that Cardoso is in contempt of court for failing to honour a subpoena.

On April 18, the court issued a “subpoena to compel the CBN governor or any of its officials to attend the proceedings to give explanations on the role of the apex bank in the November 11, 2023, off-cycle election” in Kogi.

Although the panel directed the “CBN governor or its official to appear on April 19 to testify,” there was no representative from the apex bank on the hearing day.

At the resumed proceedings on Monday, Izinyon said he was aware that the CBN management, in a letter to the tribunal, said they would not be available until April 26.

He said that though his team had planned to call witnesses within five days, the issue of the subpoena must be dealt with before proceeding.

Izinyon, who said he expected an officer from the legal department of CBN to be at the tribunal on Monday, described the letter by the apex bank as “an act of contempt.”

He said the CBN team should be at the tribunal on Tuesday to give evidence, noting that if they failed to appear, it would be in the court record, going by the fact that the matter is time-bound.

“If by tomorrow, we call our last witnesses and they (CBN officers) are not here, we urge my lord to look at our application in the interest of justice,” he said.

Other respondents’ lawyers and counsel for the petitioners aligned with Izinyon’s application.

Delivering the ruling, Birnin-Kudu held that the subpoena was to the CBN governor and director of the corporate service of the apex bank.

He said the subpoena is a command in the name of the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The judge held that the act of writing to the tribunal by the apex bank that its officials will be available on April 26 “is contemptuous and condemnable.”.

The panel then adjourned the matter until April 23 for the continuation of the 2nd respondent’s defence and for the CBN to show cause.

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