Civil society organisations and citizens leading the advocacy for openness, accountability and effective governance in Nigeria, have called on Nigerians to stay focused on demanding the quality of leadership Nigeria requires in the 21st century to leverage its human and natural resources.
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:
1. A strong commitment and respect for the rule of law and judicial integrity.
2. An understanding of and respect for the separation of powers – legislative, executive and judiciary.
3. The ability to uphold the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended) for equity and justice.
4. A development drive in the direction of preserving the dignity of Nigerian citizens.
The collective stated 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.
Mr Emefiele joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) in February 2021 and it is significant to note that neither his party members led by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, thought this was contrary to the spirit and the letter of his terms of engagement as CBN Governor. It is also instructive that Mr President and the Presidency have not issued a statement on this unfolding drama.
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 can not 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
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
Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, Sesor Empowerment Foundation
Princess Hamman-Obels, The Electoral Hub
Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
Ayisha Osori – A Press Statement