Governor Godwin Emefiele of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says he is having fun with the whole drama around his 2023 ambition.
Emefiele said this while responding to questions from State House reporters after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, on Thursday.
Asked about his reaction to the 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 heart attack. It’s good to have 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 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.
Buhari had on Wednesday ordered the resignation of political appointees seeking to contest the 2023 elections.
The CBN governor was copied in the circular titled, ‘Ministers, heads of government agencies, ambassadors and other appointees with political ambitions to resign’.
On Wednesday, three of the nine ministers seeking to contest the 2023 elections quit the cabinet.