CBN governor joining partisan politics is ‘joke taken too far’ – Akeredolu
Ondo State governor Rotimi Akeredolu Friday evening said the news of a group buying the All Progressives Congress’s expression of interest and nomination forms for the presidential primary election for the governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Godwin Emefiele, is dangerous for the country’s economy.
There were rumours that Emefiele is interested in succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023. Although not known to be a member of the ruling APC, Emefiele’s campaign posters were ubiquitous at the venue of the party’s national convention in March.
The rumours were further enlivened after a video showing several cars branded with ‘Emefiele for President’ went viral on social media.
Emefiele did little to dispel the rumours.
The CBN governor said in a statement in March that he was focused on helping Buhari finish his second term strongly and would not be distracted by rumours. He neither denied nor confirmed that he would be running for president.
“My focus at this time is a robust monetary policy and fighting inflation which is now a global problem; building a strong financial system in an increasingly uncertain global economy; Development finance and supporting farmers & manufacturers in our self-sufficiency and import substitution drive; raising N15 trillion for InfraCo infrastructure financing, Building a world-class International Financial Center in Lagos; as we support the @MBuhariAdministration to finish strong,” Emefiele tweeted on March 28.
But the purchase of the forms for the CBN governor, Akeredolu said, showed that the Emefiele may be interested in joining partisan politics.
“It is incontrovertible that Mr Emefiele enjoys a constitutionally protected right to belong to any group or association and participate fully, just as any Nigerian,” Akeredolu said. “It is, however, difficult to imagine that a person who occupies the exalted and sensitive office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria will be this brazen in actualizing his ambition.”
Although Emefiele is yet to publicly say he is contesting, Akeredolu insisted that a sitting governor of the central bank is prohibited from participating in partisan politics.
He said Emefiele must resign if he must participate in the presidential primary holding at the end of May or be sacked by the president.
“The combined effect of the Public Service Rules, CBN Act and the 1999 Constitution, as amended, exposes not only the oddity inherent in this brash exercise of presumed right to associate,” Akeredolu said. “It also confirms the illegality of the act should he proceed to submit the forms while occupying the seat as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“We admonish Mr Emefiele to leave the office, immediately, for him to pursue his interest. He cannot combine partisan politics with the very delicate assignment of his office.
“Should he refuse to quit, it becomes incumbent on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to remove him forthwith.”