The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, has bought a nomination form from the governing All Progressive Congress party in a bid to become President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor.
Party spokesman Joseph Morka confirmed to Al Jazeera by text that 60-year-old Emefiele joined the presidential race on Friday morning after buying the party nomination form sold at 100 million nairas ($240,000).
Presidential adviser Bashir Ahmad also tweeted the news.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele has reportedly picked the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination and expression of interest form.
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) May 6, 2022
Emefiele, who has been governor since 2014, is the first person to serve two terms at the helm of affairs of Nigeria’s apex bank in nearly 20 years. He was first appointed by then-President Goodluck Jonathan in June 2014, after Sarah Alade served out the term of the suspended Lamido Sanusi.
This move effectively puts months of speculation on whether the CBN governor would join the race for the 2023 general elections to rest.
It was immediately unclear whether Emefiele would resign his current position given a statute in the 2022 Electoral Act that stipulates that political appointees must leave their government appointments to be eligible as candidates in an election.
The APC guidelines for the nomination of candidates for the 2023 general elections also stated that: “Any political office holder interested in contesting for an elective office shall leave Office 30 days prior to the date of election or party primary for the office sought.”
There have been calls for Emefiele’s resignation from his office as rumours of his political ambition circulated for weeks.
A Premium Times newspaper editorial asked the CBN chief to resign his office because “once occupancy of a partisan political office becomes his [Emefiele’s] major preoccupation, his commitment to the bank’s service can no longer be guaranteed”.
Emefiele joins Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the APC’s national leader and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, and the current transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi, in a bit to succeed Buhari as Nigeria’s leader.
Meanwhile, Osinbajo, on Thursday, picked the nomination and expression of interest forms as he seeks to run for president on the APC’s platform. The forms were obtained for the vice president by a former governor of Kano State and serving senator, Kabiru Gaya, the Premium Times reported.
Osinbajo had on April 11 declared interest in running in the 2023 presidential race, saying in a video shared on Twitter that he is the most qualified to run for the office, having spent nearly eight years in the presidency.
There has been a multitude of interest from heavyweights and has-beens in the governing party, including at least five members of Buhari’s cabinet.