Time for Mr. Emifele to resign as CBN Governor

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By Maiwada Dammallam

 

So, Mr. Godwin Emifele, the Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank, has finally “succumbed to pressure” and picked up the pricy N100m APC presidential nomination form after “equally sustains pricy campaigns by numerous shadowy groups of good spirited Nigerians” who believe he’s the savior to take Nigeria out of the woods come 2023. Much as I don’t have problem with Emifele giving the presidency a shot especially given the list of assorted clowns with more than enough money to throw away N100m in the garbage bin just for the fun of being tagged serving or former presidential aspirants, for reasons I will present shortly, I have problem with Emifele’s choice of what’s probably the most expensive and no less risky hobby in the world — contesting for the office of the Nigerian President — while still serving as the CBN Governor.

To begin, one could only ask how Mr. Emifele intends to multitask and juggle the two serious businesses of running a tasking and capital intensive presidential campaigns and the no less tasking business of running the nation’s apex bank especially at a time when most Nigerians (correctly or wrongly) are tracing their woes to negligences in the management of the Nigerian economy with Emifele being seen as one of the front row culprits and, with the continuous downward spiraling of the Naira to an unprecedented pathetic level to prove so. That the Naira is not showing any sign of recovery anytime soon is enough in saner climes to induce the needed introspection to discourage such tendencies and have Mr. Emifele concentrate on healing the Naira or dedicate more time to give it a befitting burial after losing the battle to the myriads of terminal illnesses killing it slowly and painfully.

And why is it difficult for us Nigerians to be normal? Our sickness in this regard is so chronic that to be normal is to risk being seen as abnormal. The terms and conditions of Emifele’s appointment are specific, unambiguous and overly contradictory to his presidential ambition at least as long as he continue to occupy the office of the CBN Governor. According to Section 9 of the CBN Act, 2007, the apex bank governor must not venture into any other vocation while in office and must resign in writing to the President if he nursed such intention. It read, “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…”

Unless we are to believe contesting for the office of the Nigerian President is neither a full-time job nor will it conflict or detract a CBN Governor from the full-time business of heading the most vital agency in the economic sector, then we will agree it’s only decent for Mr. Emifele to respectfully resign from his office to honor “the loud calls” for him to be the next Nigerian savior or for President Buhari to ask him to resign to have enough flexibility and maneuverability to pursue his ambition. By the way, it’s morally indecent for lesser Nigerians occupying less sensitive public offices to be forced to resign from their offices as seen to it by the new electoral act only for the big fishes to be allowed surreptitious waivers with undue advantages attached.

And to the dangerous part. I could recall responding to an opinion which author I cannot readily recall, when the immediate past FIRS boss was sacked. The author of the opinion insinuated that Mr. Fowler, the erstwhile FIRS boss was sacked to checked the then embryonic presidential ambition of VP Osibanjo. I was confused and had to ask if FIRS is the war chest with which VP Osibanjo will sponsor his ambition that sacking Fowler could be such a threat to the incipient ambition? With such tendencies ruling our affairs complete with public endorsement to such high disregard to “lucrative public offices,” it’s quite worrisome for any CBN Governor to be allowed the convenience of expressing, either directly or by proxy, any ambition that is manifestly in conflict with the safety of the Nigerian economy beside being a direct assault on our extant laws and the sensibilities of other more legitimate contenders who have to deal with the intimidating and distracting albeit hazy ambition of the CBN Governor in addition to their traditional political and moral burdens.

By the way, Nigerians may be dumb but, certainly not so dumb as to miss the expensive publicity blitz unleashed to “drag” Emifele into the race by the so called good spirited Nigerians for what it is. If anything, the sustained blitz is a confirmation of our insistence to live and act our lies to the last dot. Not that I have problem with people acting their lies but, it’s only reasonable to put a limit to how far we can stretch public sensibility and how much we could dish out to the public out of our garbage bin. Perhaps, this may explain why Nigeria could remain perpetually a nation of all motion no movements. The more we lie to ourselves, the more we get deeper into the maze of lies that has kept Nigeria hopelessly confused and denied of any semblance of domestic and international respectability.

Most importantly, given the unexpected rancor between the two biggest Nigerian love birds — President Buhari and the National Assembly — which gave birth to a new electoral act which has as one of its fundamentals the resignation of certain category of public officers before they join the race for elective positions, it’s an affront to the office of the President and the respectability of President Buhari for Emifele to disregard the provisions of the electoral act and jump into the race knowing fully he’s putting the integrity, honor and credibility of the president on the line. And this is not limited to only Mr. Emifele. Anybody serving in the executive arm at the pleasure of Mr. President and nursing a political ambition has a duty to resign his position if not to obey the new electoral act which seem an easy law to break giving our penchant for breaking even bigger laws and getting away with it, at least to avoid ridiculing the President and putting his respectability and integrity on the line.

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