‘He Joined APC In 2019,’ Political Parties, Groups Demand Emefiele’s Sack
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and Coalition of National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOS) have called for the sack of Mr Godwin Emefiele as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
CNPP Secretary General, Willy Ezugwu, and CNCSOS National Secretary, Ali Abacha, made the call on Tuesday at a joint press conference in Abuja.
They faulted Emefiele’s declaration to contest for president and the purchase of the nomination and expression of interest forms of the All Progressives Congress (APC), while still serving as CBN governor.
Both groups stated that they had issued an ultimatum to the CBN governor to openly denounce his then rumoured presidential ambition or resign his appointment.
They explained that this was necessary to save the Nigerian economy from total collapse by minimising its stress and ensuring that the relevant laws in the country were respected.
As a result, CNPP and CNCSOS stressed that Emefiele cannot pursue a political career while in office, citing Section 11(3) of the CBN Act.
“Our findings revealed that Mr Godwin Emefiele joined the APC and became a card-carrying member of the party in 2019, which proved that the CBN governor’s presidential ambition was premeditated and had been in his plans before 2019 when he eventually joined partisan politics.
“This is contrary to the Mr Godwin Emefiele’s position that his focus was on his job at the CBN,” the groups alleged.
They, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack Emefiele as the CBN Governor over gross misconduct in line with the Public Service Rules and CBN Act.
Read the full text of the press conference below:
Gentlemen of the press, you are welcome to this world press briefing on the recent unimaginable developments in the polity in the build-up to the 2023 general elections.
Of particular reference here is the eventual purchase of All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination forms and the court process initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while still in office.
As you may be aware, the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and allied civil society groups under the umbrella body, Coalition of National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOs), had issued April 21, 2022 ultimatum to the CBN governor to openly denounce his then rumoured presidential ambition or resign his appointment.
In a joint press release signed by the representatives of the CNPP and the Coalition of Civil Society organisations, it was clearly stated that the action becomes necessary in an effort to save the Nigerian economy from total collapse by minimising the stress on the economy and to ensure that the relevant laws in the country are respected.
We cited Section 9 of the CBN Act, 2007, which clearly stated that “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…”
The law that established the CBN had foreseen that any iota of distraction or divided attention, however minimal, could lead to the collapse of Nigeria’s economy just as an important institution like the CBN should NEVER be headed by politically ambitious persons because the CBN Act stipulated that “The Governor and Deputy-Governors shall be persons of recognised financial experience…”
For this reason, Mr. Godwin Emefiele cannot pursue a political career while in office. Section 11(3) of the CBN Act prescribed that a Governor or any Deputy Governor may resign his office by giving at least three months’ notice in writing to the President of his intention to do so…”
And to this end, we insisted that Mr. Godwin Emefiele must resign before April 21, 2022, or we will mobilise our members and Nigerians to force him to state his stand on the speculation that he has political ambition.
However, the earlier planned protest was shelved on two grounds when information was rife that some hoodlums were hired by individuals working for Mr. Godwin Emefiele and were already on standby ahead of the April 21 deadline issued by the CNPP and the coalition of civil society organisations. Their intention was to cause a breach of peace as a licence for security agencies to give the protesters the “#EndSARS treatment”. In this light, the hired hoodlums were to sneak into the crowd of protesters and attack the CBN headquarters with weapons while a counter-protest was also arranged for the same day.
Those behind the plot were the same individuals who immediately sponsored media attacks on the CNPP and her allied civil society organisations, calling for the arrest of the CNPP Secretary-General. They were the same people who hired a political party chairman to address a press conference against the CNPP, setting the stage for security agencies to apply maximum force against the protesters. The hired party chairman has never been at the CNPP meeting, and he has also not been attending IPAC meetings.
Secondly, the plan was put on hold to give the benefit of doubt to the CBN Governor who had insisted that his focus was on his current job at the apex bank, not partisan politics as eminent Nigerians also prevailed on the CNPP and her allied civil society organisations to give the Mr. Godwin Emefiele the benefit of doubt. As law-abiding individuals and organisations, with a high sense of responsibility, we allowed the voice of reason to prevail.
EMEFIELE HAS BEEN A CARD-CARRYING MEMBER OF APC SINCE 2019 WITH PREMEDITATED PRESIDENTIAL AMBITION
However, today, we all know better as CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele has not only picked presidential nomination forms but has also gone to court to seek prayers to be allowed to contest in the APC presidential primaries.
These actions vindicated the CNPP and the allied civil society organisations that the CBN Governor has been involved in partisan politics while in office, contrary to the CBN Act 2007 (as amended) and the public service rules.
Our findings revealed that Mr. Godwin Emefiele joined the APC and became a card-carrying member of the party in 2019, which proved that the CBN governor’s presidential ambition was premeditated and had been in his plans before 2019 when he eventually joined partisan politics. This is contrary to Mr. Godwin Emefiele’s position that his focus was on his job at the CBN.
We, therefore, want Nigerians to know that Godwin Emefiele has been playing hide-and-seek games with the citizens when he claimed that he was waiting on God for direction on whether to contest for president or not. Emefiele’s declaration for president is in clear violation of the Public Service rules and the CBN Act.
In line with the establishment of the CBN by law as an independent bank by virtue of Section 1 (3) of the CBN Act, its governor should be non-partisan but here we have a card-carrying member of APC since 2019 as governor of Nigeria’s apex bank and financial regulatory institution. If his presidential ambition was not a premeditated script, why join partisan politics since 2019 while still serving as the CBN Governor?
Recently, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Head of Service of the Federation, had warned all civil servants to abide by provisions of the Public Service Rules (PSR) (2008 edition) on partisan politics. While issuing the warning, the head of the service quoted a legal opinion issued by Mallam Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), in 2018, wherein the AGF expressly stated that neither Supreme Court nor the 1999 Constitution (as amended) authorises civil servants to engage in partisan politics.
In the said memo, the AGF was also quoted to have said that the Supreme Court judgment in the case of INEC vs Musa did not set aside or nullify rules 030422 and 030423 of the Public Service Rules.
Rule 030422 of the Public Service Rules states: “No officer shall, without the express permission of the government, whether on duty or leave of absence: (b) offer himself/herself or nominate anyone else as a candidate for any elective public office including membership of a Local Government Council, State or National Assembly. (c) indicate publicly his support of or opposition to any party, candidate or policy; (d) engage in canvassing in support of political candidates.”
While Rule 030423 of the Public Service Rules states that: “Resignation is necessary before seeking elective public office. Howbeit, any officer wishing to engage in partisan political activities or seek elective public office shall resign his/her appointment forthwith.”
The Head of Service who referred to a letter, with Ref. No. SGF/PS/HCSF/210/11 and dated November 26, 2018, urged all public servants to be guided by provisions of the Public Service Rules and the legal opinion of AGF Malami in the “overall best interest of neutrality, harmony, and integrity”.
Malami had warned that “The provisions of Rules 030422 and 030423 of the Public Service Rules (2008 Edition) were not nullified by the Supreme Court, hence, they remain in force and binding on all civil servants seeking to participate in nomination exercises or party primaries”.
We refer to Section 4 of the Rules (2008 edition), titled “Serious Misconduct,” which defines serious misconduct as “a specific act of very serious wrongdoing and improper behaviour which is inimical to the image of the service and which can be investigated and if proven, may lead to dismissal.”
In fact, subsection 030402 (g) categorically noted, “Engaging in partisan political activities” as one of the significant examples of serious misconduct and according to the former super-permanent secretary and elder statesman, Ahmed Joda, this is considered to be very paramount in determining the partisan status of a public servant.
OUR DEMANDS AND WHY EMEFIELE IN UNFIT TO REMAIN AS CBN GOVERNOR
In the light of the above, we maintain our position that Mr. Godwin Emefiele must resign before seeking nomination as a presidential aspirant and before participating in APC presidential primaries and that in line with the CBN Act;
Mr. Emefiele must show evidence that he has submitted his letter of resignation to President Muhammadu Buhari three months before the date of purchase of his nomination forms which are in his name.
Whether purchased by proxy or by himself, what is important is that the forms were purchased with his name on the receipt as valid evidence of payment of the N100 million expression of interest and nomination forms.
We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack Mr. Godwin Emefiele as the CBN Governor over gross misconduct in line with the Public Service Rules and CBN Act for registering as a member of APC since 2019. We demand that President Buhari act swiftly to restore the confidence of international investors in Nigeria’s economy as Godwin Emefiele is clearly a politician and former banker.
We condemn in totality the legal action instituted by Godwin Emefiele, asking the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from disqualifying him from contesting the 2023 presidential election.
This has clearly painted Mr. Emefiele as one that cannot be trusted, having denied having an interest in the 2023 presidential election and distancing himself from the APC presidential nomination forms purchased in his name, making him unfit to remain in office as CBN Governor. His stay in office, even if he fails to contest the presidential election will certainly cast doubts on Nigeria’s electoral outcomes in view of the sensitive electoral materials that are traditionally kept in the custody of CBN which now has a partisan Governor.
We warn that Nigeria’s economic woes will worsen if Mr. Godwin Emefiele continues to formulate and supervise the execution of Nigeria’s monetary policies as an APC member against international best practices and standards which forbids a CBN Governor from being a member of a political party.
If Mr. President allows this impunity to continue, we then call on all judges, justices, and judicial officers to pick up their nomination forms from political parties of their choice. If this is absurd and contrary to the principle of neutrality, harmony, and integrity, then Mr. Emefiele must resign now.
The situation is even worse when you look at the desperation of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who threw caution to the winds by approaching the court to restrain INEC and the Attorney General of the Federation from disqualifying him from contesting the 2023 presidential election even when he is denying ever having the interest to contest and have not declared.
It then implies that Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who is in charge of the Nigeria Printing and Minting Company can possibly manipulate his way to the extent of printing naira notes for the purpose of buying votes from both party delegates and the Nigerian electorates during the presidential election in 2023. However anybody looks at it, in view of the actions, inactions, and denials by Mr. Emefiele, it is illegal, immoral and a big threat to the Nigerian economy to have Godwin Emefiele remain as the CBN governor even for a day longer from today.
We hereby hail the Nigerian judiciary for once again standing on the part of neutrality, fairness, and justice by refusing to grant the ill-fated restraining ex-parte application filed by Mr. Godwin Emefiele. We note that if the restraining order was granted, it would have done worse damage to the Nigerian economy, the psyche of the Nigerian people and that of the international investors than what the needless controversy sparked by Emefiele’s presidential ambition has already done as Nigeria has continued to witness free fall of the naira against other currencies.
The CNPP and allied civil society organisations hereby call on all security agencies, including the EFCC and the ICPC to investigate the CBN governor’s sources of funding for the alleged branded vehicles in the colour of APC and with his name and image of Emefiele on them.
Such vehicles must be located and impounded pending the conclusion of the investigation. In the same vein, all the groups that claimed to have purchased nomination forms for the CBN Governor should be investigated to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the Buhari administration as a government up against corruption and official misconduct.
We equally demand an investigation into whether electoral materials kept at the CBN by INEC since 2019 when Emefiele joined partisan politics were in any way compromised.
We commend INEC for disclosing that the commission would take action concerning sensitive materials which were being kept in the custody of CBN during elections in view of the full-blown partisanship of the CBN governor. With this move by INEC, we believe that the incumbent INEC Chairman can be trusted to conduct a free, fair credible elections in 2023.
Chief Willy Ezugwu
Alhaji Ali Abacha