The Muslim Rights Concern has told Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and an alleged presidential aspirant for the 2023 general election, to resign first before campaigning for the presidency.
The human rights advocacy group said that following due process will prove that Emefiele respects decorum, law and order.
The organisation articulated its position on Friday through its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads: “We are in possession of a campaign leaflet authored by a group called ‘Friends of Emefiele’ which is canvassing for the candidature of the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Godwin Emefiele, in the coming 2023 presidential election. We have a principled position on this.
“As a bona fide Nigerian, Dr. Godwin Emefiele has every right to aspire towards the highest post in the land having met the conditions stipulated in Section 65,105 and 131 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides that a person shall be qualified for election in the various elective offices if he or she is a citizen of Nigeria and has attained the age of 35 years.
“As a human rights advocacy and apostle of good governance, we recognise the right of every Nigerian to exercise his or her right in a democratic Nigeria and we will welcome credible candidates regardless of their ideological, ethnic or religious background. We do not doubt Emefiele’s credentials but he should follow due process.
“The last time we checked, however, the Governor of the Central Bank is still in public service and Nigeria’s public service rules forbid someone in such position from participating in electioneering campaign or contesting an election. It is also a gross infringement on electoral rules and regulations.
“Sections 66, 107, 137, and 182 of the Constitution disqualifies any person employed in the civil or public service of the Federation or State and does not resign, withdraw or retire from the employment before the election.
“We therefore call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to call the Governor of the Central Bank to order. A man sitting on the nation’s wealth cannot be allowed to violate the electoral law with reckless abandon. Emefiele should do the needful by resigning his position in the public service before plunging headlong into the 2023 electioneering campaign.
“This is not about Emefiele alone. MURIC will not embark on witch-hunting. The same treatment should be extended to any other aspiring candidate who is still in public service. Those who aspire to leadership positions must learn to respect the law. Only thus can they claim the moral right to lead us.
“This advocacy is neither motivated by ethnic bias nor religious sentiment. For instance, former Senate president Anyim Pius Anyim is now in the race but we have nothing against him. So are many others. All we are after is due process and respect for the laws of the land.”