Buhari Sack Emefiele, Nigerians Demand

 By Lateef Adegbite

 Between February, 2021, and now, there have been rumours making the rounds that Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank of Nigerian, CBN, is a registered member of the ruling  All Progressive Congress, APC, and therefore, could not concentrate on his job due to conflict of interest.

This may have informed why the CBN governor had been in the eye of the storm over his Presidential ambition and membership of the ruling APC. Informed sources told The Value News that until he joined the APC, there was intense pressure on him when he was reappointed for another five year term , in May 2019, to do so by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General and other power brokers within the ruling APC .

The CBN, governor who was so desperate to be given a free- hand to run the apex bank, was aid to have bowed to such pressures to register as a member of APC, in his Ika Ward 6 in February 2021.  Nduka Erikpume, APC,Chairman, Ika Ward 6, where Emefiele, the CBN governor , had registered his membership  since February 2021, had reportedly confirmed that he is a member of the party. ‘’He is our member’’, he had said.

Emefiele: CBN Governor And APC Presidential Aspirant

It was not surprising why the CBN governor has been doing the biddings of the Katsina state born Nigerian President to be in his good book.  Recall that barely nine months after becoming a registered member of the ruling APC while still overseeing the affairs of the CBN, and at the instance the Katsina state born Nigerian President, he had launched a loan recovery scheme under the Federal government’s Anchor Borrower’s Programme.

The Scheme, according to informed sources was said to have been established in partnership with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN. The CBN was said to have made N300 billion available   for the Anchor Borrower’s Programme to over 3.1 million small holder   farmers across the country.

The Nigerian President was said to have listed farmers of 21 different Commodities  including rice, wheat, cotton, cassava, poultry, soyabean,  maize, groundnut and fish, cultivating about 4 million hectares of land that should benefit from the CBN, loan.

Based on the Presidential directive on the category of farmers that should befit from the loan, may have given Emefiele the opportunity to disburse the funds as he wants. He was said to have made many friends in the course of the disbursement of the fund to the farmers.

 Many see the CBN, interventions as a mixed blesing. Take for instance, the price of  a 50Kg  of locally produced rice  which was N13,00.00 barely a  year after former President Goodluck Jonathan left office, rose to N25,000.00, in six years, , showing an increase of 92%  between 2016 and December 2021.

It is these bulk of beneficiaries of the N300 million Anchor Borrower’s Fund that may have formed the bulk of supporters of the CBN, governor and who are pushing him to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the upcoming 2023, general elections.

 With the ban for the 2023, general elections being lifted by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under the close watch of Mahmood Yakubu, three interest groups emerged : RIFAN,  Friends of Emefiele and Emefiele Support  Group, and  allegedly contributed N100 million  to purchase the APC Expression of interests and nomination forms, which was pegged at N50 million each  for him.

Aware that he may have problem with INEC, and Abubakar Malami, SAN, minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, who is also seeking to run for the governorship Seat of Kebbi sate, north western Nigeria, may have forced him to head to a Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, ‘’seeking enforcement of his right to contest the 2023 Presidential election without resigning  from his current position’’.

For Emefiele, who had tweeted that he has not taken a decision to run for the presidency of Nigeria to approach the Court speaks volume.  He had told the Court in Abuja, through his Counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, that the can ‘’run for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without vacating his position as the CBN, governor’’.  This is how far Emefiele, may have compromised and politicized the office of the CBN governor and Chairman Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, of the Bank.

 Political Observers believe that there may be something holding the CBN, governor and and the Nigerian President, which are not open to public knowledge, that he could have the audacity as a sitting CBN governor, to use proxy to purchase the APC Presidential forms .  Ozekhome, had told the Court, that ‘’Section 84(12) of the 2022, Electoral Act as amended does not affect him being a ‘’public servant and not a political appointee’’.

The Legal luminary had alluded to the fact that the section of the Electoral Act has been voided by a Federal High Court in Umuahia, Capital of Abia state, south east Nigeria, noting that the case is on appeal at the moment, which qualifies the CBN, governor ‘’to contest the 2023, general elections’’.

There is no gain saying the fact that the retired Army General may have known that some of his political appointees and the CBN governor, have Presidential and governorship ambition but may not have wanted to sack them.that In signing the 2022, Electoral Act, he had said  that  he will approach the National Assembly  ‘’to amend  the provision  in section 84, (12) on the ground that ‘’it violated the Constitution’’.

According to him, ‘’section 84(12) of the 2022 Electoral Act constitutes  a ‘’disenfranchisement  of serving political office holders from voting  or being voted for  at Conventions or Congresses of any political party, for the purpose of nomination of Candidates for any election  in cases  where  it holds  earlier than  30 days  to the national election’’.

Section 84(12) of the 2022 Electoral  Act,  also provides ‘’no political appointee  at any level of government  shall be a voting delegate  or be voted  for at  the Convention  or Congress of any political party  for the purpose  of the nomination of Candidates for any election’’.

He opined that this section of the 2022, Electoral Act has introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that may have ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restriction and disqualification to serving political office holders.

H Although , he may have sent a message  to the political appointees seeking elective office that  the only Constitutional  expectation  placed on them to qualify , by extension as public office holders  within the context of the Constitution  is ‘’resignation,  withdrawal,  or retirement at least 30  days before  the date of the election. The implication is that all the political appointees including the CBN, governor who had purchased the Presidential or governorship forms in their respective states could still be overseeing the affairs of their respective ministries or Departments until 30 days to the election date.

Political analysts believe that the APC, Leadership may have used Nduka Edede of the Action Alliance, AA, to truncate the 2022 Electoral Act, by seeking ‘’the nullification of the Section 84,(12), of the Electoral Act.

Hiding under the cover that  the 2022 Electoral Act is still in Court for  removing  entirely section 84,(12),  Emefiele the CBN, governor , may have been disappointed  that the Court  has refused  his request  ‘’to restrain  INEC, and Malami, the AGF, preventing him  from his Presidential ambition’’.

This may  have confirmed a cross section of Nigerians believe that he gave the nod to RIFAN, Emefiele Support Group and the Personal Friends who had volunteered to pay the N100 million fee to purchase the APC Presidential nomination forms for him. Nigerians are watching to see the action that would be taken by the Nigerian President on Emefiele for politicising the affairs of CBN Governor which may have seen the economy not growing over the last six years. This because the CBN governor had concentrated much of his time on his new vocation as the bank job suffers.

He is being criticised at all several quarters for collecting salary from the apex bank and also meddling in politics. Consequently, a cross section of Nigerians and groups want Buhari to sack him from his position if he does not want to go quietly.  Prominent among those asking for his resignation include Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and governor of Ondo state, south west Nigeria.

Falana: Wants Emefiele to Quit CBN, Job For Meddling Into Politics

Another Prominent Nigerian that wants Emefiele to go was Femi Falana, SAN.  The Lagos based Lawyer had said that apart from the fact the he is not qualified to run for the 2023 general elections but ‘’if he does not heed to calls to quit CBN forthwith the President would have no option but remove him, stressing that it is  in line with section  11 of the CBN Act and should be recommended  for prosecution  for ‘’conflict  of interest before the Code of Conduct Tribunal’’.   

Afe Balalola, SAN, may have seen Emefiele, who ought to guide Buhari on his monetary and Financial policies as CBN, governor but had failed to do so. He had cited the free fall of the naira to the North American country of the United States, US, dollar, British pounds sterling and the Euro in the official Foreign Exchange and the black markets.

The 92 year-old legal luminary, had alluded to the fact that ‘’the Naira which was N199.00 to $1,  the Jonathan Administration had suddenly  jumped to  over N570  to a dollar  under the very nose of Emefiele , the CBN governo.

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