The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Monday, walked out a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Obiora, from the venue of a meeting at the National Assembly.
Mr Obiora had gone to represent the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the meeting convened to resolve the crisis in the oil sector.
The leadership of the House had summoned Airline Operators of Nigeria, Group Managing Director of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, Mr Emefiele and others to the meeting.
The CBN Governor initially failed to attend the meeting but instead sent his deputy to represent him.
Mr Obiora told the ad hoc committee that the CBN Governor was unavoidably absent.
Mr Gbajabaimila, who was visibly angry, directed Mr Obiora to leave the hearing with a message directed at Mr Emefiele.
“The House recalled leaders from their various constituencies where they will be involved in primaries because of the urgency we attached to it, which the CBN governor should know better because the issue centres around FX rate and jet fuel price.
“It is imperative that the GMD, who is here, and the CBN governor, who calls the shot when it comes to FX availability should be here.
“I don’t want to get into much details because I will get very upset. Please, pass that message to him, that he was needed here—we all have important things to do—there is nothing that can be as important. Just pass that message to him,” he said.
However, in the course of the meeting, Mr Emefiele quietly entered the hearing room less than one hour after his deputy was walked out.
He explained that he was stuck at the airport.
Ordinarily, heads of MDAs shunning meetings is not new.
Mr Emefiele is enmeshed in a controversy over the decision of some support groups to buy the APC presidential form for him last week.
Contrary to section 9 of the CBN Act which says, “The Governor and the Deputy Governors 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 or charitable causes as may be determined by the Board and which do not conflict with or detract from their full-time duties.”
Earlier today, Mike Ozokheme was at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on behalf of Mr Emefiele, where he argued the right of his client to participate in the 2023 presidential election.
Mr Ozekhome urged the court to issue an interim order stopping the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) from disqualifying him from participating in the primary election of his preferred political party.
But ruling on the ex parte application, the judge, Ahmed Mohammed, ruled that he would rather order INEC and the AGF to appear to state their side of the case instead of granting the CBN Governor’s request.
Mr Emefiele had earlier rejected the N100 million nomination form bought on his behalf by support groups.
The involvement of Mr Emefiele in partisan politics has generated bipartisan criticisms.
Last week, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Mr Emefiele if he failed to resign as CBN Governor.
Similarly, the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal called for the sack of Mr Emefiele.
Mr Tambuwal is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999