By Emmanuel Onwubiko
In the last couple of days, an unnatural incident orchestrated by the serving Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has continued to reverberate in the newswaves and newspapers regarding his reported ambition to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ambition of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to succeed the President is not really the issue but his intransigence and insistence that he won’t resign from his non partisan office as Central Bank governor before seeking for the office of the President of Nigeria. His refusal to resign whilst still pretending to want to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari has done tragic damage to the economy of Nigeria. How do you explain that a closet politician is the chief regulator of the banks in Nigeria? Is this not a recipe to economic collapse? How does one explain that in the same CBN whereby election materials are kept, you have the Chief executive who is suspected of partisan loyalty to the ruling party? Where is the dignity and where is the honour?
These shenanigans did not end there because some clowns have stretched these jokes beyond rational comprehension.
This is so because, a certain amorphous group of rice farmers purportedly bought for him the N100 million Presidential nomination and expression of interest forms from the All Progressives Congress (APC). Ken Nnamani former Senate President analysed these jokes well when he said that members of some of these amorphous groups purportedly purchasing the N100 million Presidential nomination and expression of interest forms are persons who are owing their rents and are broke.
And so the governor of CBN came under intensive scrutiny over his politically motivated decision even whilst he stays on as the governor of the Central Bank in which the statutory provision had obliged him to devote 100 percent of his time doing the job of the CBN and no more. He even went as far as hiring lawyers to apply for Court’s injunction to stop the higher authority from removing him because he is eyeing the plumb position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even without quiting his publicly paid employment. Whilst the to and fro of the National conversations on the negative impacts of the development with Godwin Emefiele in the CBN, the President who had been so reluctant to act decisively to restore normalcy and order in his administration then rose from his perennial slumbering and issued an official command in which the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele was copied in the circular, which was issued late Wednesday directing politically ambitious officials in government paid appointments to resign forthwith.
President Muhammadu Buhari stated thus: “Mr. President has observed and noted the expression of interest and intention by some members of the Federal Executive Council, heads of extra-ministerial departments, agencies, parastatals of government, ambassadors and other political office holders to contest the upcoming presidential, gubernatorial, national and state assemblies’ elections,” Mustapha said.
The president’s directive comes hours after an earlier one directing ministers to resign on or before May 16.
“Consequently, Mr. President has directed that the affected office holders aspiring to run for various offices in the 2023 general election, should tender their resignation on or before Monday, the 16th of May, 2022.
Earlier this week, Emefiele challenged his eligibility to run for the office of Nigeria president continuing as CBN governor in court.
Recall that Emefiele’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, earlier on Monday, urged the court to issue an interim order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from disqualifying him from participating in the primary election of his preferred political party.
But ruling on the ex parte application, the judge, Ahmed Mohammed, ruled that he would rather order INEC and the AGF to appear to state their side of the case instead of granting the CBN governor’s request.
The SGF Boss Mustapha, however, noted that the president’s directive should be complied with by all appointed public office holders, including the CBN governor.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this directive affects all ministers, heads and members of extra-ministerial departments, agencies and parastatals of government, ambassadors, as well as other political appointees who desire to contest for elective offices,” Mustapha said.
He said the order was necessary “for smooth running of the machinery of government and our foreign missions, affected ministers are to hand over to ministers of state where they exist or to the permanent secretary, where there is no minister of state.”
Mustapha said Nigerian ambassadors in different countries are to hand over to their deputy heads of mission or the most senior foreign service officer in line with established practices.
“Similarly, heads of extra-ministerial departments, agencies and parastatals are to hand over to the most senior director/officer as may be peculiar to the organisation, in line with the service wide Circular No. SGF.50/S. Il/C.2/268 of 4th December, 2017,” Mustapha said.
“The contents of this circular and the incidental directives take effect immediately.”
Even after receiving this clarification from the SGF, the CBN governor then decided to visit President Muhammadu Buhari and after their discussion, he strolled out and when confronted by Journalist on his future in the CBN, he retorted that Nigerians who are anxious about him resigning should go have heart attacks. Such is the condescending tendencies of most public office holders in a time of impunity and lawlessness. However, today Friday May 13th 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the outgone ministers in a valedictory meeting and stated that he will soon replace 10 members of his cabinet who recently resigned to contest various elective positions in 2023 general elections.
The Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed announced this after the President had a valedictory meeting with nine of the Ministers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.
He said the President had indicated that he would immediately fill the vacancy created by the exit of former members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
He also thanked the exited ministers for complying with the directive to quit based on their decision to seek elective political offices.
President Buhari appreciated them for their services to the country, expressing confidence that giving the experience they have garnered in the services of government, they are equipped to run the states.
The President admonished the rest of the cabinet to be committed to governance for the rest of the life of the administration.
The former Ministers at Friday’s meeting were Abubakar Malami (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice); Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta Affairs); Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation); Ogbonnaya Onu (Science, Technology and Innovation); Pauline Tallen (Women Affairs); Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment); Timipre Sylva (State, Petroleum Resources); Uche Ogar (State, Mines and Steel Development), and Tayo Alasoadura (State, Niger Delta Affairs).
Only Emeka Nwajiuba, the former Minister of State for Education, who was the first to resign, was absent at the meeting with apologies.
It is important to note that right now Nigeria bleeds from instability, heightened insecurity, mass killings, terrorists attacks, kidnappings and collapse of the petrol distribution mechanisms which has occasioned the ongoing fuel scarcity. Mind you the minister of Petroleum is President Muhammadu Buhari but his minister of State is Timipre Sylva and he is also a valedictorian today. He alongside others are WOEFUL FAILURES and they need to be told so. The Minister of State for Petroleum is a colossal disaster. As he leaves, the Petroleum sector is in shambles. The minister of State for Education is another disaster because for over 4 months all the public tertiary institutions are on strike caused by the incompetence and gross irresponsibility of the Ministers of education. Pauline Tallen is another disaster because the cases of domestic violence are on the rise but she has not achieved much to try to introduce some national mechanisms for dealing with this menace. But of all the VALEDICTORIANS today, the most notable disaster is the justice minister Abubakar Malami who failed woefully to bring terrorists to trials including the sponsors of boko haram.
Earlier in the year, Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, urged the President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to ensure the public prosecution of the 400 Bureau De Change operators arrested for allegedly funding the activities of Boko Haram insurgency in the country.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, made this known.
According to him, the President should learn from the United Arab Emirates which recently named and prosecuted six Nigerians and 32 others for allegedly financing terrorism.
Nigerians on the UAE’s terrorism list include Abdurrahaman Ado Musa, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Muhammed Ibrahim Isa, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan and Surajo Abubakar Muhammad.
The Nigerians were said to have transferred up to $800,000 in favour of Boko Haram between 2015 and 2016.
The six persons were said to have been tried and sentenced to at least 10 years in jail in the UAE.
In March 2021, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had said the Nigerian Government arrested some BDC operators who were facilitating the transfer of money to Boko Haram terrorists.
He had said the Nigerians were transferring money to the sect from the United Arab Emirates.
“Bureaus de change are facilitating money to terrorists. We have already worked with the UAE.
“Convictions have been achieved of Nigerians who are transferring money to Boko Haram terrorists and this also happens domestically.
“I tell you that by the time we finish this investigation, the shocking details will surprise many Nigerians,” Shehu had said.
Reacting in a chat with the media HURIWA urged Buhari and Malami “to be forthright, patriotic, altruistic and nationalistic for once by transparently and professionally, handling and coordinating the public prosecution of the 400 sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists who are identified as BDC owners”.
The group added, “Previous public prosecution of Boko Haram terrorists done by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation was marred and made non-believable by the unnecessary secrecy that attended and characterised the so-called trial. For the fact that the government is carrying out the unconstitutional act of pardoning Boko Haram terrorists, it is possible that this might just be a public show of government magic.
“The successful prosecution of the funders of Boko Haram terrorists will be a watershed.
“The Chief Justice of Nigeria should allow the television stations to have live 24/7 coverage of the trial of the 400 sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists because of the offences for which they are being charged border on the destruction of national security and the mass murders of Nigerians over the past 11 years.
“Releasing their names should not be impeded since they are already charged and once papers are filed in courts they are deemed as public information so the judiciary reporters of the media houses must get hold of these papers and publicise the names. Malami never did till date. Big shame. Someone said he is the worst AGF in the history of Nigeria. We in the civil society had continuously asked that “The Federal Government should publish their names (boko haram sponsors) and photos in the same manner that Abubakar Malami publicly celebrated the illegal abduction of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra from Kenya.”
Media had earlier reported that a former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, said that Boko Haram terrorists mentioned names of current governors, senators and Aso Rock officials as sponsors during interrogation but the President has demonstrated an unwillingness to go after the high-profile politicians for reasons best known to him.
The minister of Justice is not known to have initiated any major prosecution of Fulani terrorists that have been attacking farmers all over the Country. When HURIWA approached him to know why, he said the killers are not prosecuted because government has not built case files on them.
Right under the justice minister’s nose, Department of State Services operatives invaded private residences of Supreme Court Justices and after these embarrassing outings, not one of the Supreme Court Justices was found wanting. Under Malami, the residence of the just retired Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court of Nigeria was invaded but nothing incriminating was found and the fake police man who led the invaders mentioned Malami as his boss just as Malami denied. He is also been accused of removing the then acting head of EFCC and allegedly supplanted his kinsman Bawa Abdulrasheed as substantive Chairman. One of the most senior detectives was quoted in a leaked telephone conversations of saying that EFCC has grounded to a halt due to interference of Abubakar Malami. It was under Abubakar Malami that a substantive CJN was removed by a code of conduct Tribunal headed by an appointee of the executive and who indeed had a case of N10 million alleged bribery made by a retired customs officer. Under Malami his aides were accused of selling prerogative of mercy and Presidential pardons in which case fraudsters and drug dealers allegedly paid to be granted freedom. The minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio is known to have presided over that ministry and throughout his period of stay, the Niger Delta Development Commission has been crippled and the crude oil producing communities have never witnessed the kind of neglect by government ever since the NDDC was created. The agency is still being managed by interim management which is strange to the statutory provision that set it up. Akpabio failed spectacularly in the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
As they go, they need to be told that they are apostles of infamy and they are responsible for the dysfunctionality of the present day Nigeria and they should indeed be spending times with the law enforcement authority to explain many things that allegedly went wrong in their beats.
They need to cover their faces in shame because as VALEDICTORIANS they are WOEFUL FAILURES.
EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER of the NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.