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, reports the Guardian.
But the purchase of the forms for the CBN governor, Akeredolu said, showed that the Emefiele may be interested in joining partisan politics.
He said: “The news of the purchase of Declaration of Intent and Nomination Forms to contest for the office of the President in the forthcoming general elections, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, purportedly by the supporters of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has been received with palpable disbelief and shock by many Nigerians. This act, if unchecked, timeously, portends great danger to the fragile economy of the country.
“Rumours had been rife on the subterranean partisan activities linked to him through these shadowy characters in the recent weeks. Pictures of branded vehicles, ostensibly purchased for electioneering campaigns, were also posted on the social media. The audacious moves by those who claimed to be supporting this interest have been unsettling.
“This latest news confirms that the Governor may indeed be interested in immersing himself in the murky waters of politics like any other Nigerian with partisan interests. 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. 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.
“There is no gain asserting the obvious. 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. 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.
“Consequently, 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.
“This is a joke taken too far.