2023: PDP demands arrest, prosecution of Emefiele

Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called for the arrest and prosecution of the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

The party wants Mr Emefiele arrested and prosecuted for joining politics and allegedly purchasing Presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for the All Progressives Congress (APC) at N100 million.

This call comes barely 24 hours after some farmers and friends reportedly obtained the form for the CBN boss.

The purchase of the form confirmed speculations making rounds in the past weeks that Mr Emefiele had interest in the presidential race ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The PDP referred to Section 9 of the CBN Act which demands that the governor and the deputy governors “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…”

It also referred to Section 030422 of the Public Service Rule which says no public officer shall (a) “hold any office, paid or unpaid, permanent or temporary, in any political organisation”, (b) offer himself/herself or nominate anyone else as a candidate for any elective public office…”, (c) “indicate publicly his support of or opposition to any party, candidate or policy and (d) “engage in canvassing in support of political candidates” unless such officer resigns his appointment. And Section 030502 (g) of the Rule that lists “engaging in partisan political activities’ as SERIOUS ACT OF MISCONDUCT.

Mr Emefiele’s involvement in politics without resigning as CBN Governor therefore amounts to gross misconduct in contravention of Section 11 2 (2)(c) of the CBN Act, the party said in a statement by the Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba.

The CBN governor had, however, said God will direct him over his decision on the 2023 presidency “in the next few days”.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, he appreciated his friends for the form but stated that should he answer their calls and decide to seek presidential nomination, he will use his “own hard earned savings from over 35 years of banking leadership to buy my own Nomination Forms without proxies in an open and transparent manner in full compliance with the laws and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

“And should I not run for elected office, I will continue to serve and sacrifice for the good people of Nigeria under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he said noting that it is a “serious decision that requires God’s Divine intervention.

Ambition, danger to CBN’s integrity

The PDP has also said Mr Emefiele cannot continue to work at the CBN and his act has become a danger to the health, integrity and reputation of the CBN.

His involvement partisan politics while still holding office as CBN Governor underpins the impunity, lawlessness and recklessness of the Buhari-led administration and further confirms that the CBN under Emefiele has all along been the finance department of the APC, the party said.

The party expressed disappointment that the president “who promised zero tolerance for corruption” will condone such atrocious regime in the CBN “where the economy is opened to fraudulent pillaging to promote a political ambition.”

The party, therefore, called for the immediate arrest, investigation and prosecution of Mr Emefiele by security and anti-graft agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) “for alleged financial malfeasance and abuse of office in the CBN under his watch.”

“We wish Mr Emefiele well in his new found but ill-fated political vocation but we demand that he must be brought to account for the activities that he undertook, supervised and superintended over the years that he has been at the helm of affairs at the CBN and for which our economy is in comatose.”

Although Mr Emefiele is yet to publicly declare interest in the presidential race, many Nigerians have called on the president to sack him immediately.

One of such is the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu who described it as “a joke gone too far.”

“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,” the Ondo governor had said.(PREMIUM TIMES)