Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigerians (CBN), says it is the prerogative of President Muhammadu Buhari to map out his succession plan.
Emefiele said this in response to calls for him to throw his hat in the ring and contest the 2023 presidential election.
The CBN governor spoke when a ‘group of his friends’, tagged ‘Friends of Godwin Emefiele’, visited him to discuss the controversy over his rumoured presidential ambition in 2023.
Emefiele, according to the group, maintained that he would leave his ‘fate’ firmly in the hands of God as regards the choice of the leadership of the country in 2023.
The group said the verbal attacks on Emefiele over the rumoured 2023 bid are uncalled for, since he has not confirmed to anyone “he is running for President even as he is constitutionally qualified to do so”.
“Only yesterday, as the speculation became widespread, a group of his friends under the aegis of FRIENDS OF GODWIN EMEFIELE met with him to clarify his position,” a statement signed by the group, reads.
“Here is what he told us: That he remains focused on his job and will continue supporting the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government’s economic recovery drive; that in his career trajectory, right from his days as a young banker, he never asked, nor lobbied for a job, he was invited by the Board of Directors to be the Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank as he was an integral part of the team, led by founder Jim Ovia, that transformed Zenith Bank from a start-up to one of Africa’s largest banks with subsidiaries in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, South Africa, Dubai, China and the United Kingdom.”
According to the group, Emefiele said that in 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan tapped him to be the CBN Governor, a job he didn’t lobby for and in which his name was not among those being considered at that time and was not even from the geo-political zone that most people thought the job would go to as the president then was from the same geopolitical zone with him.
It also quoted Emefiele to have said he, “remains humbled by President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to grant him an unprecedented second term as CBN Governor- again without lobbying. Thus he will continue to remain loyal to him and the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
“Mr. Emefiele told us that he believes it’s the prerogative of President Muhammadu Buhari to plan his succession in line with global best practices for good governance for the continuing peace and progress of the federal republic of Nigeria, as such he will play his part to stabilise the economy for an orderly transition.
“And given that it’s God that anoints leaders, he will leave his faith (sic) firmly in the hands of God.”
Highlighting Emefiele’s achievements since he assumed office in June 2014, they said that at the time, his task was huge and the challenges seemed insurmountable but he successfully calmed the waters and put Nigeria back on the path of growth.
They listed the achievements to include reduction of Nigeria’s food import bill, taking COVID-19, regulatory forbearance to banks, and others.
“Apparently, those behind the sponsored negative reports are afraid of Emefiele’s towering personality and service to Nigeria. But they must understand that he cannot be stampeded any way,” the statement adds.
“He is focused on delivering the mandate of the Central Bank; he is rebuilding the economy of the country through import
substitution policies and using agriculture to create a new rural middle class from the ground up.
“Those who continue to criticise the rice pyramid are too ashamed of giving glory to whom it is due. Emefiele is focused on his unfinished job and should not be distracted.”
Editor’s note: This story has been edited for better clarity.