Buhari asks Godwin Emefiele, other appointees to resign

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele and other top government officials with ambition to contest for political offices to resign.

Mr Buhari’s directive was conveyed in a memo by the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on Wednesday. It followed the Federal Executive Council meeting on the same day, where the president instructed officials, including ministers, contesting in the forthcoming elections to step down before May 16.

Mr Mustapha’s letter was addressed to ministers, heads of agencies, parastatals and departments. The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is 16th on the list.

“Mr President has observed and noted the expression of interest and intention by some members of the Federal Executive Council, Heads of Extra-ministerial Departments, Agencies, Parastalals of Government, Ambassadors and other Political Office holders to contest the upcoming Presidential, Gubernatorial, National and State Assemblies’ elections,” the letter said.

“Consequently, Mr. President has directed that the affected office holders aspiring to run for various offices in the 2023 General Elections, should tender their resignation on or before Monday, the 16 of May, 2022.

“For the avoidance of doubt, ths drectve affects all Ministers, Heads and Members of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Agencies and Parastatals of Government, Ambassadors as well as other political appointees who desire to contest for elective offices.

“For smooth running of the machinery of government and our foreign Missions, affected Ministers are to hand over to Ministers of State where they exist or to the Permanent Secretary, where there is no Minister of State. Ambassadors shall hand over to these Deputy Heads of Mission or the most Senior Foresgn Service Officer in fine with estabéshed practices.

“Similarly, Heads of Extra-Mirestenal Departments, Agencies and Parastatals are to hand over to the most senior Director/Officer as may be peculiar to the organization, in line with the service wide Circular No. SGF.50VS. H/C 2/268 of 4″ December, 2017.”

Already, the Niger Delta minister, Godswill Akpabio; the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; and the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, have stepped down.

Running for president

Mr Emefiele has made clear he intends to run for president, and has fought to keep his seat while apparently involved in partisan politics.

Amid criticisms, he filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja through his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, to contest his eligibility to run while in office as CBN governor.

He has rejected calls, including from PREMIUM TIMES, to step down from his sensitive role and focus on his political ambition.

Mr Emefiele’s method has infuriated many Nigerians who have called for his dismissal, especially considering the poor management of the nation’s monetary policies under his leadership.

The CBN on his watch has funded the federal government’s deficits above the legally permissible limit using the bank’s Ways and Means instrument. Analysts say this approach has helped fuel inflation in the country.

In 2017, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, Doyin Salami, accused the bank of pushing the country towards a serious economic crisis.

He criticised the CBN’s “massive injections of cash” into the economy, and accused the bank of serving as a “piggy bank” for the government, against its own rules.

“Godwin Emefiele has ridiculed the office of the Central Bank Governor,” Kalu Aja, an economist, noted. “He lacks any moral authority to oversee the monetary policy or external reserves of Nigeria. He is essentially deploying the Ways and Means privileges to fund his political ambition. He should resign.”

The CBN has not published its annual reports since 2018, the first time it has failed to do so since it began releasing the reports online in 2005.

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