Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele has responded to calls asking him to campaign to be president.
A coordinated campaign pressuring Mr. Emefiele, to run for President of Nigeria has gathered steam in recent days especially on social media.
Nigerians go to the poll in 2023 to elect a president who will take over from Muhammadu Buhari whose tenure ends on May 29th. The race is likely to be one of the most hotly contested since the 2015 election that the current President won.
According to them, Emefiele also stressed that he remained focused on his job, even as he has pledged to continue supporting the Buhari-led federal government’s economic recovery drive. They added that he warned those that had resorted to all sorts of blackmail, sponsored articles and choreographed comments on social media targeted at tainting his image, impugning his character and legacy to desist from such acts, stressing that it’s God that anoints leaders and that he would leave his faith firmly in the hands of God.
What Emefiele’s friends are saying about the presidential race
The group stated, “In the past few weeks, there have been media reports on Emefiele’s purported interest in the 2023 presidential race, leading to some interested parties and vested interests resorting to all sorts of blackmail, sponsored articles and choreographed comments on social media targeted at tainting Emefiele’s image, impugning his character and legacy.
“The negative attacks were being sponsored by those who see Emefiele as a major threat to their political ambition. Truth is Godwin Emefiele has not confirmed to anyone he is running for President even as he is constitutionally qualified to do so; he has been under pressure in the past few weeks as different groups have been putting up unsolicited campaign for his candidacy.
“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. 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.”
It further pointed out 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 as him.
Highlighting his achievements since he assumed office in June 2014, they noted that then, his task was huge and the challenges seemed insurmountable, adding that today he has calmed the waters and put Nigeria back on the path of growth.
“As you will recall there was a sharp fall in crude oil prices from 2015, which led to significant revenue shortfalls in Nigeria where crude oil represents about 95 per cent of Nigeria’s export revenue. This created major shock for the Nigerian economy, leading to a 13-month recession in 2016.
“In comparison to the previous years before Emefiele became the CBN governor, the average price of crude oil from 2010 to 2014 was over $100/barrel and this fell to some $30 / barrel with high production costs of some $25/barrel.
“Despite these challenges Emefiele’s monetary policies supported the Buhari administration and all 36 State governments, ensuring salaries were paid and much more was done, with much less, in infrastructure, steering Nigeria away from much worse outcomes while many oil producers like Kuwait, Russia, Angola and Brunei had longer lasting recessions between of 20 – 60 months,” the group stated.
Emefiele’s intervention funds may be the attraction
What could be the attraction for the group or other groups calling for ‘Emefiele for President 2023?” There are concerns that the Emefiele-led CBN has injected hundreds of billions of Naira in several intervention funds, especially during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Emefiele has presided over N5 trillion in intervention funds since he became Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank. He has also funded the current government with over N10 trillion through Ways and Means, a short term funding mechanism used by the government to augment cash flow during budget deficits.