As the Buhari administration approaches the finish line, all the governance deficiencies of the regime are being amplified. Some years ago, I wrote a column about what happens to governance when the president is not governing. My conclusion was that every member of the government becomes their own governor and does whatever pleases them. Governance at cross purposes becomes the order of the day and there is no coherence in governmental action and inaction. As there is no sheriff in town, public officials become emboldened and more brazen in their actions. Accountability disappears completely and there are no rules in the game of governance. That is where we are today.
The latest strange behaviour is from Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He went to the Federal High Court in Abuja and filed a suit that he should be declared eligible to participate as a candidate in the 2023 presidential election. His main prayer is that the respondents, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) should recognise him as a public officer and in that capacity does not need to resign, withdraw or retire from his office as governor of the central bank until 30 days to the elections. His idea is to do most of the campaign while still exercising the functions of the central bank governor.
Were he to win the presidential nomination in the ruling APC, which as is now known, he has been a card-carrying member of for the past year, he will be the custodian of sensitive election materials. INEC as we all know keeps sensitive election materials, including ballots in the central bank, believing as they should, that the officials of the venerable institution and its leadership cannot be involved in partisan politics and all parties would therefore feel that confident that the non-partisanship of the institution would be a guarantee that the materials would not be tampered with. It now appears that way back in February last year, Mr Emefiele joined the ruling APC and that a lot of the policies he has promoted within the CBN are part of an orchestrated plan to build up a campaign strategy and manifesto. The support the CBN has been providing to farmers, the messaging about food security, the public relations project of building rice pyramids in Abuja for a photo opportunity for him and President Buhari and dismantling the pyramids immediately the cameras left the scene were all part of this partisan campaign agenda.