Editor's note: Public affairs commentator, Abdulkadir Kabiru, writes on the rumored presidential ambition of the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele, arguing that despite the campaign of calumny against the apex bank chief, he is the best man for the job.
In an editorial published on February 21, 2022, Premium Times was smart by half when calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele to either make his intention known regarding 2023 or resign his position as head of the apex bank.
“If Mr. Emefiele wants to run for political office, common sense and good breeding dictate that he does not sully the hallowed offices of the Central Bank as part of this process,” the newspaper wrote.
The editorial, titled ‘Why Godwin Emefiele must speak up or resign’, was another installment of the barrage of attacks directed at Emefiele since the rumour of him eying the highest position in the land became public.
The CBN has officially denied Emefiele ‘s interest in running for president in 2023 and urged those attacking Emefiele to desist from distracting him. Also, Emefiele himself has not publicly declared any interest in running for political office.
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The mischief in asking the CBN governor to respond is in the fact that he has already responded. Through 'Friends of Godwin Emefiele’, he has spoken out by saying his fate was firmly in the hands of God and that President Muhammadu Buhari had the right to plan his succession.
Hence, the attacks on Emefiele over the rumoured 2023 bid are unnecessary and suspicious, since he has not confirmed to anyone that he is running for president, even as he is constitutionally qualified to do so.
When Christine Lagarde, current president of the European Central Bank, was rumoured to be interested in becoming the French president at a time when she was Managing Director of the IMF, there was neither a call for her to declare her intention nor for her to resign her position.
France is one of the ‘saner climes’ we mention when discussing standard practices but Emefiele’s critics have deliberately missed out on the fact that, like Lagarde, he has committed to offence at all.
The red flag that shows that these attacks on Emefiele are organised and well oiled comes in these words from Premium Times’ editorial: “Accordingly, this newspaper’s bias is for a candidate familiar enough with the nation’s lead peeves – political and economic – and knowledgeable enough to proffer workable solutions.”
The last time it was checked, the CBN governor ticked all the boxes of desired qualities and qualifications a 2023 presidential candidate should possess.
None of those calling for Emefiele ‘s head on an issue he hasn’t shown interest in can accuse him of incompetence.
However, if it is compulsory for the CBN governor’s head to be sacrificed because people are calling on him to serve in a higher capacity, it is only fair that the same energy is used to seek Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s, as well many other public office holders who have been mentioned in the same breath with the 2023 presidential election.
Truth be told, this mob action on Emefiele is becoming despicable and laughable at the same time, as reflected in the tweet shared by one Jubril Ibrahim who claimed that the CBN governor had taken delivery of not one, not two, but three private jets for his presidential campaign!
One has to be absolutely certain they would be the next president to purchase three jets for that purpose.
For now, the CBN governor should be focused on his work of practically turning stone to bread under challenging circumstances. He should be undeterred by naysayers.
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