President Muhammadu Buhari has said the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, can seek elective positions without resigning from his position.
Buhari made this claim in an interview with Bloomberg published on Tuesday.
When asked if he was concerned about the debate around the Central Bank’s independence, particularly with the way the governor showed interest in running for president, Buhari said such decisions did not rest solely on him as the Nigerian president.
Speaking in the interview, Buhari said the CBN Act had not listed political participation as part of the grounds for the removal of a CBN governor.
“The CBN governor is appointed by the President. But this appointment is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Senate.
“Ultimately, it will be for the CBN’s board of directors to determine whether a CBN governor’s actions have fallen foul of the laws in place to ensure he can most effectively carry out his duties.
“But there is a subtext to the accusations. Because the governor follows a model outside of the economic orthodoxy, he is labelled political. But the orthodoxy has proved wrong time and again.
“Instead, the governor is following an alternative economic model that puts people at the heart of policy. Nigeria should be free to choose its development model and how to construct our economy, so it functions for Nigerians.”
There had been reports that Emefiele was seeking to become the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) prior to the party’s primary election.
A group was said to have purchased the expression of interest and nomination forms for Emefiele to partake in the contest.
Reacting, the CBN governor said he would use his own money to buy his nomination forms when he had made a decision to run for the number one office.
The CBN governor had come under heavy criticism over the APC Presidential Expression of Interest and Nomination forms reportedly obtained for him.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project is one of the groups that called for Emefiele’s removal noting that the CBN governor acted contrary to section 9 of the CBN Act which forbids CBN governors and their deputies from engaging in politics.
The same call was made by the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and a host of other Nigerians and civic groups which viewed Emefiele’s interest in partisan politics as dangerous for someone superintending over the country’s apex bank and national economy.
Amid the pressures, the CBN governor pulled out of the race noting that he had not made up his mind to run for the office of the president.
He also withdrew his lawsuit seeking an order to run for president without resigning from the apex bank.
Emefiele had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/610/2022 and filed on May 5 asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to declare him eligible to participate in the 2023 presidential election.
It had the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), as respondents.