The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has reacted to his controversial presidential ambition which has seen many groups and notable Nigerians call for his resignation to preserve the sanctity of the treasury and national economy.
While addressing State House reporters on Thursday, Emefiele boasted that he was having fun and cared less about what people had to say.
He met with State House Correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Reacting to a report that the President had asked him to resign after the purchase of the presidential nomination and expression of interest forms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Emefiele said, “There is no news now, but there will be news. You heard me, I said there is no news but there will be news.”
But when told that Nigerians were anxious about his position, he said: “Let them have a heart attack. It’s good to have a heart attack. I am having a lot of fun.”
The governor of the apex bank has been under intense pressure since expression of interest and nomination forms of the ruling APC were picked on his behalf, triggering outrage as many called on him to step down.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who described Emefiele’s interest in the 2023 Presidency as “a joke taken too far”, had asked Buhari to fire him if he refused to step down.
But in a series of tweets after the development, Emefiele declined the presidential forms bought for him, saying he would use his resources to purchase them if he is interested in the race.
He said God would decide for him “in the next few days”.
But early this week, another twist was added to the development as a suit was filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja over the alleged plan to disqualify him from the 2023 presidential primaries slated for the end of this month.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has given political parties a deadline of June 3 to submit their candidates for the 2023 elections.
Some lawyers had argued that Emefiele was unfit to run going by Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act.
The section states that no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.
But in documents seen by Daily Trust, Emefiele, through his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, argued that he is not a political appointee and by the provision of the constitution, he is expected to resign a month before the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
He also contended that a Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State, had nullified section 12 (8) of the Electoral Act.
INEC and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) were joined in the suit.
President Muhammadu Buhari had recently ordered all heads of agencies, departments, parastatals, and ambassadors with political ambitions to resign.
A circular obtained by SaharaReporters on Thursday morning shows that the office of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, among other agencies was copied.
The circular was signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The circular with reference number SGF/OP/ I/S.3/XII/ 173 was titled, ‘Ministers, heads of government agencies, ambassadors and other appointees with political ambitions to resign’.