The national chairman of Action Alliance (AA), Kenneth Udeze, has faulted Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, over his outburst against the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Godwin Emefiele, over the purchase of All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination forms for him by some groups.
Three different groups namely Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Friends of Emefiele and Emefiele Support Group, on Friday, purchased the APC expression of interest and nomination forms for the CBN governor.
Shortly after the purchase of the forms became public knowledge, Akeredolu called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Emefiele.
However, Udeze, in a statement, faulted Akeredolu’s position. He said
“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 groups that feel 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 governor on which basis is he asking for Emefiele’s sacking?
“For the discerning minds, Akeredolu’s call is beyond politics or national interest. It is purely personal.”
Similarly, the Emefiele Support Group (ESG) and a group of ethnic youth leaders, under the aegis of the Nigerian Ethnic Youths Leaders Council (NEYLC) disagreed with Akeredolu; and a lawyer, Prof Itse Sagay over the presidential forms bought for Emefiele.
ESG in a statement by its director of Communications, Ms. Benigma Ejimba, wondered why Akeredolu, Sagay, and Omowole Sowore are silent on the president of African Development Bank (ADB) Akinwunmi Adesina’s ambition.
The NEYLC, in its statement, signed by the president of the Arewa Consultative Youth Movement Kabiru Yusuf, said “They should stop distracting Emefiele who is committed to repositioning the nation’s economy.”
On it’s part, Coalition of North-Central Youths Vanguard for Emefiele said the CBN governor has not violated any law by purchasing APC forms.
The coalition argued that contesting for the position of the president is an exercise of constitutional rights, and not an engagement in any employment or vocation.
Publicity secretary of the Coalition, Ameenah Hayatudeen, in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP in Abuja noted that the constitution was clear on rights of association, and rights to seek elective positions.
Hayatudeen said there was no impediment whatsoever on the exercise of such rights except such impediments are contained in the constitution.
She said the Coalition was aware of the provisions of Section 9 of the CBN Act which states that: “the Governor and the Deputy Governor shall devote the whole of their time to the service of the Bank and while holding office shall not engage in any full or part-time employment or vocation whether remunerated or not except such personal and charitable causes as may be determined by the Board and which do not conflict with or detract from their full-time duties.”
Hayatudeen said clearly from the provision of the extant law, the CBN governor or deputy governor cannot be involved in any other employment or vocation while in office.
“In the case of Shell Petroleum Company of Nigeria vs Federal Board of Inland Revenue 1996 8 NWLR Part 466 256, the Supreme Court held that where the words of a statute are plain, precise and unambiguous, then it should be given the ordinary and natural meaning.
“We make bold to ask then from Emefiele’s traducers what then is the natural and ordinary meaning of the word employment? And what is the natural and ordinary meaning of the word vocation?
“Employment means “the state of having paid work”. While vocation means “a person’s employment or main occupation,” she added.
Based on these definitions, Hayatudeen said, “seeking election into the office of the president of Nigeria is an employment or vocation?”
Hayatudeen said anything other than that will be the most artificial interpretation to suit a sinister purpose.
“We wish to state unequivocally, that Godwin Emefiele is the right man to be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and he will enjoy the total support of North Central Youths,” Hayatudeen stated.