Some African leaders have mounted pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to anoint President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general election, newsmen learnt at the weekend.
A reliable source told newsmen that leaders in West Africa, including the presidents of Niger and Côte d’Ivoire, might have spoken to Buhari on behalf of the AfDB president. The West African leaders are meeting Buhari in Abidjan today and tomorrow, at a two-day conference organised by the United Nations, on the future of land, regarding desertification, drought, degradation, rights, restoration and implications for national and world economies.. Their mission? To try and persuade him to consider Adesina. This, it was gathered, was what encouraged a coalition of support groups to purchase the expression of interest and nomination forms for the president of the continental bank.
However, analysts described as double standard the calls on Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to resign over the purchase of the N100 million APC nomination and expression of interest forms on his behalf by his supporters, while keeping mum on the purchase of the forms for Adesina.
The analysts specifically accused the Governors of Ondo and Sokoto States, Rotimi Akeredolu and Aminu Tambuwal; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Oby Ezekwesili, and other activists who have been calling on Emefiele to resign, without demanding same from Adesina who superintends over a continental bank.
“The APC forms have been purchased for Adesina, why are they not calling for his resignation as well?” the analyst who pleaded to remain anonymous wondered.
Akeredolu had while reacting to the purchase of the N100 million All Progressives Congress (APC) nomination and expression of interest forms on behalf of Emefiele for the 2023 presidential election, last Friday, said the CBN Governor should resign his position or be sacked.
On her part, Nigeria’s former Minister of Education, Ezekwesili as well as some activist on Twitter and other social media platforms had also called on Emefiele to resign.
Three different groups, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Friends of Emefiele and Emefiele Support Group, had last week, purchased the forms for Emefiele.
They noted that the apex bank’s boss was the only responsible and responsive person to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari at the 2023 general elections, hence their decision to purchase the forms for him.
Meanwhile, the National Chairman of Action Alliance (AA), Kenneth Udeze, has disagreed with Akeredolu, over his call for the sack of Emefiele.
In the same vein, the Ideas Nigeria Movement (INM), a group of Nigerians with focus on national unity, innovation and capacity also described as baseless, calls by various persons and associations for Emefiele to resign his position.
Responding to the calls for the CBN governor to vacate his position, Udeze, in a statement yesterday, in Abuja, alleged that Akeredolu’s anger against Emefiele was beyond the issue of the purchase of form.
He said: “Many participants and watchers of the democratic space must have been taken aback by the speed and audacity at which the Ondo State Governor came down hard on Emefiele.
“It is more surprising that Akeredolu spoke at a time when Emefiele has not even come out to declare that he has interest and he will be running.
“It is true that the groups that felt that the CBN Governor will do well as the president purchased forms for him but he has not made any declaration.
“So, Nigerians will naturally want to ask the Ondo Governor on which basis is he asking for Emefiele’s sacking?”
Speaking further, he said: “For the discerning minds, Akeredolu’s call is beyond politics or national interest. It is purely personal.
“I am however advising Nigerians to beware of desperate politicians who will be presenting their personal interests as national interest as we move closer to the general election.”
In a related development, the INM, in a statement issued by its Executive Secretary, Mallam Nadodo Abubakar, yesterday, stressed that Emefiele has not breached any law, especially the constitution, hence should not resign.
The INM wondered why some persons were still calling on Emefiele to resign even when he had rejected the form and was yet to declare his intent to run, stressing that, “Emefiele as at today has not breached any extant law of the land.”
The statement added: “Even by his own admission, the CBN Governor has not formerly declared his intent to contest for the Presidential ticket of any party, yet certain persons are already calling for his head or his resignation while some are threatening to shut down the nation through protests.
“We dare say that these reactions are baseless, ultra vires and of no effect as they are based on hearsay and the actions of some Nigerians (not Emefiele) who are working at convincing Emefiele to join the presidential race.
“It is therefore wrong and unjustifiable for critics of Emefiele to continue to demand for his resignation when the man, himself, has not officially declared his intention to run.
“We admit that several groups including professional bodies have since mounted pressure on Emefiele to contest the Presidency, such persuasions were only vicarious and do not represent his opinion or intendment. Even so, these groups were only persuading Mr. Emefiele to exercise his constitutional rights and liberties.”
Furthermore, the INM faulted critics who were referencing the Public Service Rules, CBN Act and the 1999 Constitution to advance their argument, adding that quoting laws would not be enough, but showing proof of how his “action or inaction offends any of the statutes.”
“The Constitution is clear on the matter of who should resign and when to resign in the case of appointees seeking election to political offices. While ruling on the suit marked FHC/UM/CS/26/2022, Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State capital, held that Sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(f) and 182(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution already stipulated that appointees of government seeking to contest elections were only to resign at least 30 days to the date of the election and that any other law that mandated such appointees to resign or leave office at any time before that was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal null and void to the extent of its inconsistency to the clear provisions of the Constitution. “This ruling renders nugatory any other law, rule or Act of Parliament stipulating that appointees must resign ahead of the primary elections of their preferred party.
“Even if we assume, though not conceding, that Emefiele is running, he has not contravened any of the afore-listed canons often quoted by his traducers. For the avoidance of doubt, Emefiele has not breached any law.
“He has not shown any partisanship, neither has he mounted any rostrum nor undertaken any tour across the land to woo delegates of any political party.
“Every perceived political activity being linked to Emefiele was done by different groups who merely made persuasive efforts to compel him to run for Presidency on account of his antecedents as someone who believes in promoting a production economy as opposed to a consumption economy.
“It is no brainer that Emefiele remains the best CBN governor who has genuinely placed the nation on the path of economic diversification through a revolutionary turnaround of the agriculture ecosystem. Little wonder, farmers were the ones who enthusiastically purchased Form on his behalf but which he has rejected, according to his tweet.
“We reaffirm that Emefiele should not resign because he has not flouted any law. We recall that the Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia has effectively struck out Section 84(12) of the newly amended Electoral Act,” the statement added.
The group stressed that it was “shocked that a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, should join the anti-Emefiele mob to demand for his resignation based on blatant falsehood and hearsay.
“Emefiele has openly told the world that he has not consented to the request of some patriots especially Nigerian farmers to run but would rather prefer to be Divinely guided on the matter, which he referred to as a ‘serious decision.
“We urge Emefiele to stay focused on the good job he is doing at CBN where he has guided the nation’s economy out of two recessions, navigated the economic landmines of Covid-19 pandemic which consumed stronger economies in the advanced West,” the statement said.
Coalition: N100m Presidential Form Purchased But Adesina Not Persuaded
Meanwhile, the coalition of support groups that purchased the presidential nomination form for President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, has lamented that it has not been able to convince him to contest the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary election.
At the weekend, the coalition of 28 support groups had paid for his presidential nomination form.
While addressing journalists in Abuja, yesterday, the President of One Nigeria Group, Mohammed Saleh, said their quest to seek a solution to the myriad of challenges confronting the country informed their decision to drag him into the race.
He described Adesina as a man of proven integrity and experience, saying he performed well for Nigeria as Minister for Agriculture.
“He has solved the problems of so many farmers, created so many jobs by solving the corruption in the agricultural sector. Particularly the fertilizer, which he brought the e-wallet for fertilizer which the farmers are enjoying now, and it has created a lot of jobs,” Saleh explained.
“It has also helped millions of farmers in Nigeria, which they are still benefiting from and also as president of African Development Bank, he has brought a lot of initiatives that solve Africa’s food security problem. So, we will like him to come back home and apply it here in Nigeria.”
On how Adesina would woo delegates to vote for him, he noted that the most important thing for the group now was to get Adesina to agree to join the race.
“When we get there, we’ll cross that bridge, don’t worry about that. First and foremost, the most significant thing is for us to get him to agree and come and collect the form, sign it for us and then join the race. That is the most significant thing at the moment,” he added.
“Issues of delegates and everybody I know all Nigerians apart from not even the delegates even you, everybody in Nigeria knows that Adesina has the capacity to bring Nigeria back from the brink.”
Also, the leader and founder of the Youth Arise Movement, Babatunde Ademola, said he was one of the group leaders working tirelessly and consulting across the country and even outside the country to ensure that they get him to come and obey the clarion call.
“I will tell you significantly that we have tried to reach out to him. We have sent messages. We have not gotten any definite response from him,” explained Ademola. “We need Dr Adesina to come and solve Nigeria’s problem, and because of this, we have put our resources together.”
“It is not easy to gather N100 million, but we have ensured that we gather as many people as possible. So we are calling him to come out and accept this form from us,” he added.
“Is a gift to serve this country and solve our problems. We are calling Adesina because it’s a call to save Nigeria, and I think he is going to accept.”