Civil society organisations have called on Nigerians to sign a petition demanding the immediate resignation of Godwin Emefiele from his position as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria following his involvement in partisan politics.
The groups, including BudgIt, CISLAC, CLP, Dataphyte, EiE Nigeria, said Emefiele joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) in February 2021 and neither his party members nor the leadership thought of it as contrary to the spirit and the letter of his terms of engagement as CBN Governor.
The collective groups urged Nigerians to stay focused on demanding the quality of leadership Nigeria requires in the 21st century to leverage its human and natural resources.
They said, “As is typical in an election season, various political players are indulging in tactics that are inconsistent with democratic values.
“The high cost of nomination forms, unknown form buyers, media disinformation and other political gimmicks are some ways politicians, especially the governing party, are distracting citizens from focusing on the key issues of governance and leadership that Nigeria needs at this time.
“At the minimum, Nigeria deserves a leader with: a strong commitment and respect for the rule of law and judicial integrity. An understanding of and respect for the separation of powers — legislative, executive and judiciary.
“The ability to uphold the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended) for equity and justice. A development drive in the direction of preserving the dignity of Nigerian citizens.”
They added that it is important to remind Nigerians of these critical issues in light of the decision by Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to contest for the office of president.
“The CBN Act (2007) was written to protect the CBN from external political interference, not expecting that the interference could be internal at the highest level.
“If there is any doubt to the implied and expected neutrality of the CBN, Nigerians should be reminded that the materials for our elections are kept in CBN offices across the country and the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (an agency of the CBN) prints some of our election materials.
“Separation of powers is at the heart of any democracy, and it is for this reason that by our laws, the CBN Governor cannot be appointed or removed at will by the executive arm of government.
“In addition, for the same reason, two-thirds of the Senate, not a simple majority, is required for the Governor’s removal by the legislative arm. Therefore, the breach of this principle by Godwin Emefiele should not stand.
“We remain resolute in our stance: Godwin Emefiele’s political ambition hinders the independent decision-making his role requires, and therefore a liability to the credibility of the Central Bank, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and our electoral process. He should therefore resign immediately to pursue his partisan interests or the National Assembly should commence the process to terminate his appointment.
“Nigerians can lend their voice to this call by signing the petition here: www.change.org/meffymustgo.”
The statement was jointly signed by Seun Onigbinde, BudgIT; Auwal Rafsanjani, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC); Atinuke Odukoya, Centre for Women’s Health and Information; Ngozi Iwere, Community Life Project (CLP); Joshua Olufemi, Dataphyte; ‘Yemi Adamolekun, EiE Nigeria; Ayodeji Fadugba, Kili Ceramics.
Others are Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, Sesor Empowerment Foundation; Princess Hamman-Obels, The Electoral Hub; Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Ayisha Osori.
SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK