By Lateef Adegite
Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, may not have wished to join the murky waters of Nigerian politics. He may have wished to retire quietly as a CBN, governor having reached the peak of his banking career. He got it wrong.
By meddling with the power brokers in Senator Abdullahi Adamu , a former governor of Nasarawa state,- led All Progressive Congress, APC, may have exposed him to the antics of politics. Acting out a script the group may have started work on him by ensuring that he joins the ruling APC, if he wants his tenure renewed for another five years term as CBN governor. He may have read the handwriting on the wall that he may be removed from office by the president Mohammadu Buhari, if he fails to do so.
One group had registered as a card carrying member of APC in February, 2021, ahead of the 2023 general elections, in Ika Ward 6, in Ika Local government Area of Delta state. Another group, which have the likes of Willy Ezugwu Secretary General, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, and Ali, Abacha, his Counterpart in Civil Society Organisatons, CSOS, on their part said the Delta state born Banker has been hobnobbing with the APC, since 2019, with a promise that he will be the next President of Federal Republic of Nigeria after Buhari in 2023.
It was not surprising why the duo had made Nigerians to know that ‘‘Emefiele’s presidential ambition was premeditated and had been in the plans before2023, when he eventually joined partisan politics’’. The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have fulfilled his first part of the deal with the CBN governor by renewing his appointment as CBN, governor, in May 2019, for another five year term as a way to say Thank you for your support in the 2019 general elections.
Fulfilling the second part of the deal with the power brokers that if he should purchase the APC Presidential nomination forms when the ban on politics would be lifted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC would guarantee him to contest the 2023 general elections. He may have been told not to worry about how to raise the money to buy the forms. They may have sold a dummy to him that he will remain in office and still go about his electioneering Campaigns, as the party Presidential Candidate.
True to their promise, when the ban on politics was lifted by INEC, a shadowy group, parading themselves as Rice Farmers of Nigeria, RIFAN, who had benefited from the apex bank N300billion Anchor Borrowers Programme, fund, Emiefele’s Friends and Emefiele Support Group, were said to have raised the N100 million used in purchasing the party Presidential nomination forms for him which was pegged at N30 million for the Expression of Interest Form and N70 million for the Presidential nomination form.
His case may be different from Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, who was said to have been under intense pressure from the power brokers in the state, including Nasir El- Rufai, a former minister of FCT, during Olusegun Obasanjo, Administration and now governor of the Kaduna, to pay the N50 million to purchase the APC, nomination forms.
Both for the outcry of a cross section of Nigerians and the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, PDP, the Katsina born Nigerian President may have allowed the political appointees nursing Presidential, Gubernatorial ambitions or Senatorial bid to go about the electioneering campaigns for the 2023, general elections without resigning from office.
Many believe that the intervention of Abdulrasheed Bawa led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, whose officials are working behind the political space, to ascertain how the nine ministers and other Political Appointees under the Buhari Administration , including Emefiele , the CBN, the CBN, governor, who are vying for the office of President, raised N100 million each to purchase the APC Presidential nomination forms while those vying for governorship and Senatorial Seat paid N50 million and N20 million respectively to buy the nomination forms.
The EFCC, intervention may have encouraged the Nigerian President to show the other that he can also bark and bite by giving out a matching order to the Political Appointees, ‘’to resign or be sacked’’ to avoid dragging the name of APC ,to the mud.
Indeed, Emefiele’s reactions since the news broke out that Buhari, had ordered all appointees nursing political ambition ‘’to resign or someone would do it for them’’ speaks volume. He had laughed off the anxiety associated with his Presidential ambition in the 2023 general elections, describing it as fun.
Although his name was not officially on the list of those scheduled to see the President on Thursday, May 12, 2022, after being asked to resign by him but he was given express passage to go in. He was said to have held a closed door meeting with the Commander –In-Chief, C-In-C, of the Nigeria Armed Forces, which outcome remained a closely guided secret. State House Correspondents who were said to have laid heard about the CBN governor’s visit to the Villa, were said to have laid an ambush to interview him but were disappointed. He had told them ‘’there is no news but there will be news’’.
In apparent response to the Journalists question to know his views about the anxiety created by his Presidential ambition, in the 2023, general elections, when he has no political base except only being governor of CBN and a former Managing Director of Zenith Bank, he appeared unrepentant for dragging the apex into politics.
Talking tough, he may have created the impression that someone in the Presidency was beating the drum for him. ‘’Let those opposed to my Presidential ambition on the ticket of APC, have ‘’heart attack’’ stressing that ‘’It is good to have heart attack’’. I am having a lot of fun, he further remarked. He is right.
He had headed to a Federal High Court in Abuja, to ensure that INEC and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation will not prevent him from contesting the 2023, general elections. He had engaged the services of Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, as his Lawyer.
The legal Luminary was said to have filed a suit on his behalf marked FHC/ABJ/CS/610/2022, challenging the legality of section 84(12) of the 2022, Electoral Act as amended preventing its application to him as a government appointee. He was said to have lost the case in Court: You cannot contest the 2023, Presidential election while in office, the Court may have told him. This may have dampened his enthusiasm to continue to parade himself as an APC Presidential aspirant and his plot to with draw from the race.
Heading to Court, the CBN governor and his sponsors have shown that they knew what they were doing but that was how far they could go. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the government of the Federation at the instance of Buhari may have given the killer punch to the Political appointees. He has ordered nine ministers the CBN governor, Ambassadors, Heads of agencies and other government appointees with political ambition to resign on Wednesday, May, 11, 2022, to give them time to purse their political ambition to avoid a ‘’conflict of interest’’.
As contained in the circular, that was said to have been released from the office of Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of The Federation, ‘’all ministers, Heads and members of Extra-ministerial Departments, Agencies and Paratatals of government, Ambassadors as well as other political appointees of the government who desire to contest for elective offices in the 2023, general elections’’ were affected with the Presidential order.
Political Observers believe that the Buhari Administration may not have done too well, over the last seven years, because he had loaded his Cabinet with political ambitious ministers who were nursing Presidential or governorship ambitions and who have been working towards it by building new political structures in their respective states to stamp their Authority and win the backing of the people.