Opposition continues to mount against the interest of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele in the 2023 presidential race on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Apart from the court refusing to grant his request to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from pursuing his presidential ambition, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some other groups and individuals have demanded his sack by the President.
The PDP not only demanded Emefiele’s resignation, but also asked that he should undergo a thorough investigation following his appearance in APC campaign posters, saying that that “confirms his partisan affiliation and entanglement with the APC”.
An Abuja-based human rights lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi also demanded the sacking or resignation of the CNB Governor.
According to the lawyer, Emefiele has allegedly desecrated his office in the apex bank by showing interest in politics, especially the 2023 presidential election.
In a statement on Monday, Olajengbesi warned that Emefiele must quit now as all INEC sensitive materials are domiciled with CBN headed by Emefiele.
He said: “The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has desecrated his office in the apex bank and must resign now or be sacked forthwith by President Muhammadu Buhari”.
Olajengbesi further said: “Emefiele as a civil servant cannot and should not think of contesting an election whilst still in office. The CBN governor contesting is like INEC chairman running for a political post because he is a critical stakeholder in the country’s election.
“Emefiele is the custodian of all sensitive election materials in Nigeria as INEC uses the CBN as its vault. It is dangerous for Emefiele to continue holding CBN governor office because he is compromised and INEC materials are not safe with him. The 2023 election is presumed rigged should he continue to hold office as CBN governor.
“According to Section 9 of the CBN Act, 2007, the apex bank governor must not venture into any other vocation while in office and must resign in writing to the President if he nursed such intention. There are more than enough reasons Emefiele must go now for the credibility of the bye-elections this year, the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections as well as the 2023 elections”.
Earlier on Monday, a Federal High Court in Abuja declined Emefiele’s request to restrain INEC and the AGF from preventing him from running for the presidential ticket.
Emefiele’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) had argued at the court that his client could run for the post of the President without vacating his position as the CBN governor.
Ozekhome presided his argument on Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022, which he said did not affect Emefiele, being a public servant and not a political appointee.
The court however refused the request and summonsed INEC and the AGF to appear before it on Thursday to show cause why request should not be granted to the CBN Governor.
Earlier, the APC Chairman in Ward 6, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State, Nduka Erikpume said the CBN Governor registered as a member since February 2021.
Three interest groups – the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Friends of Emefiele and Emefiele Support Group – last week paid N100 million on Emefiele’s behalf for the APC presidential expression of interest and nominations.
But, in a tweet on Saturday, the CBN Governor said he was still waiting for God’s direction, adding that he would purchase the forms himself, if he eventually decided to join the presidential race.
According to Section 9 of the CBN Act, 2007, the Governor must not venture into any other vocation while in office and must resign in writing to the President, if he nursed such intention.
It reads: “The Governor and the Deputy Governors shall devote the whole of their time to the service of the Bank and while holding office shall not engage in any full or part-time employment or vocation whether remunerated or not except such personal or charitable causes as may be determined by the Board and which do not conflict with or detract from their full-time duties…”
Like Emefiele, other government officials who are yet to resign whilst pursuing their 2023 presidential ambition include Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba; Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Malami has also reportedly expressed interest to contest the governorship seat of Kebbi State next year.
Both the PDP and the APC presidential primaries have been scheduled for the end of this month.