“Emefiele Must Stay At His Job” — Governor Matawalle Urges Buhari to Deny CBN Head Study Leave

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reject the alleged request by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, for “study leave”.

POLITICS NIGERIA reports that in a statement released on Monday, Mr Matawalle claimed that Mr Emefiele’s request was an attempt to evade rendering accounts, just a few days before the inauguration of a new administration.

The Zamfara governor criticized the CBN governor’s management of the country’s financial and monetary systems, citing his implementation of the recent Naira swap policy and the Naira confiscation program which he claimed brought hardship and set the economy backward.

According to Mr Matawalle, Mr Emefiele’s departure on study leave with 10 months left in his tenure would be unacceptable.

Mr Matawalle emphasized that Mr Emefiele must remain at his job and give a full account of all that happened under his watch to the incoming administration. He insisted that the CBN governor must answer all the questions the new regime may have for him, especially with some months still left in his tenure.

The full statement is as follows:

Beyond the remarkable achievements of his administration in all sectors, President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated that he is a patriot, democrat and a man of impeccable integrity and character. Perhaps more than ever before, this has been on display even in the twilight of his administration. President Buhari has about two weeks left of his eventful tenure.

Last week, he and his family officially moved out of their residence at Aso Rock Presidential Villa into a place called the Glass House, also within the precinct of the Villa.

And we witnessed an astonishingly respectable spectacle of First Lady Aisha Buhari taking Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, round the Presidential Villa, their soon-to-be- abode.

President Buhari and his wife Aisha Buhari have shown good faith and shown they want a seamless orderly and peaceful transfer of power to the incoming administration. They are eager to ensure that the new regime takes off smoothly and speedily and in a manner devoid of any encumbrance in the interest of our country. This is the right thing to do and I commend President Buhari and his wife for their statesmanly conduct.

The President and his wife have demonstrated good faith.

However, other officers in government have acted in a different manner. They are behaving as if they want to put spanners in the work for the incoming regime. President Buhari should not allow this. He should frown on any attempt by any person seeking to damage the good job he has done.

This is the import of this press statement today. I want, here and now, to urge President Buhari to not approve any study leave or whatever kind of leave for any officer critical to the take-off of the incoming administration of Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu. One of such persons that has been speculated in the media to have sought a study leave is Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele. If the leave has been approved, as reported in the media, the President should cancel it in the interest of peaceful transfer of power, accountability and good governance. CBN Governor Emefiele superintended over the management of the country’s financial and monetary systems. He is the one who initiated and implemented the recent disastrous Naira swap policy, the Naira confiscation program, which put Nigerians through untold woes and trauma and set our economy backwards.

Two of my brother-governors and I took the Federal Government to court over this ill-advised policy and fought resolutely until we got a respite for our people from Emefiele and company.

This same Emefiele now wants to proceed on study leave when he has some 10 months left of his tenure apparently in a bid to evade rendering accounts. This is unacceptable. President Buhari should not countenance this. Emefiele must stay at his job to give full accounts of all that transpired under his watch to the incoming administration. He must answer all the questions the new regime may have for him particularly when he still has some months left of his tenure.

I also want to use this opportunity to appeal to President Buhari to also not approve foreign postings or grant any foreign travels for any officer at any level in the outgoing government who may be critical or strategic to the smooth take-off of the incoming government. I’m aware that some officers in the outgoing government are moving to surreptitiously leave the country at this critical time they are needed to answer to specific questions, though I would not want to mention their names here.

President Buhari should not heed their inordinate and unpatriotic plan. These plans are dangerous and devilish. They show clearly that these officers have something to hide. This must be halted immediately. Any plan to evade rendering accounts is neither in the interest of accountability, transparency and anti-corruption, which President Buhari had championed in government, nor in the interest of an unencumbered take-off of the incoming administration. It’s also not in the interest of the country, which the president has always promoted and championed. This is my appeal and why I have decided to speak out as a patriotic Nigerian and concerned governor.

Thank you.

Bello Matawalle
Governor of Zamfara State
May 15, 2023

There has been no official announcement by Mr Emefiele or the CBN regarding his request for study leave, despite reports in the media.

Recall that in response to the allegations, presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu said he was unaware of such a request.

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