Senior Advocate of Nigeria and rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Governor, Dr Godwin Emefiele.
Addressing the Southwest youths and women conference at Ado-Ekiti on Thursday, Falana said Emefiele’s continued stay in office as CBN governor could erode and compromise the credibility of the 2023 general elections.
Emefiele had indicated interest to contest as president in 2023 on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress but rescinded the decision on Wednesday.
Falana, a guest speaker at the conference, said that for free, fair and credible 2023 general elections, INEC should not keep sensitive election materials at the CBN with Dr Emefiele sitting in the office as its governor.
“INEC is trying; it has deployed technology to get rid of rigging, but we can no longer keep sensitive election materials in the vault of the CBN.
“This is because the governor of the CBN is a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress.
“It has never happened anywhere in the world; this is very dangerous. The CBN governor’s power is enormous under the CBN Act, so he can’t be a politician.
“We can’t look for an alternative place to keep our electoral materials; it is the CBN governor that must be removed and whether President Buhari likes it or not, Emefiele must go.
“Some Civil Society Organisations have filed a motion against him and we will pursue it to a logical conclusion,’’ Falana stressed.
He also suggested the establishment of electoral offences tribunals across the country to prosecute offenders and sanitise the system and also to stem election manipulation and bloodshed.
The rights activist expressed regret that while the police had arrested more than 2,000 electoral offenders from the 2011 general elections onward, most of them were neither prosecuted nor punished.
He argued that: “people commit electoral crimes because they are aided by politicians.
“Statistics showed that 750 electoral offenders were arrested in 2011; 900 such offenders were arrested in 2015, and in 2019, a total of 1,120 were arrested.
“Majority of them were not prosecuted; the police even filed motions to terminate some of the cases and discontinued prosecution.’’
Falana also expressed worries over the use of youths as thugs.
The conference where Falana spoke was put together by two NGOs, the New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD) and Balm in Gilead Foundation for Sustainable Development (BIGIF). (NAN)