There are plans by Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, to use funds from the apex bank to fund his presidential ambition, SaharaReporters gathered.
According to sources, Emefiele’s presidential ambition will be funded from the CBN intervention funds; Bank of Agriculture; Nirsal Microfinance Bank among others.
SaharaReporters learnt that at least $20 million (N 8.3 billion) has been released for the campaign so far.
SaharaReporters also exclusively learnt that a cabal led by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami is strongly behind the push for Emefiele to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of other strong contenders in the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Nduka Obaigbena, a media entrepreneur is another prominent member of the cabal.
Obaigbena is the founding Chairman & Editor-in-Chief of the THISDAY Media Group and ARISE News Channel.
For instance, the National Leader of the party, Bola Tinubu has publicly declared his intention to run for President and even though Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has yet to officially declare to run, sponsored groups across the country have been ‘begging’ him to also join the 2023 presidential race.
A top source in the party told SaharaReporters on Sunday that the “APC is torn between Osinbajo, Tinubu and Emefiele’s people, each pushing their own candidate and agenda”.
Meanwhile, at the weekend, Emefiele’s supporters, mainly youths, spotted white T-Shirts with the inscription MEFFY 2023 at the occasion held in Lagos to draft him into the race.
Convener of the group, Wale Fapohunda, told the gathering that since Emefiele’s appointment as CBN Governor, he had spent his energy building a resilient financial system that can serve the development needs of the economy, ignoring the glaring fact that Nigeria’s economy has dipped to its worst state ever during Emefiele’s tenure as CBN governor.
SaharaReporters learnt that Emefiele’s declaration did not start at the weekend. Indeed, it started with the recent FCT mega rice pyramid, an initiative under the RIFAN/CBN anchor borrowers’ programme, but used to sell the candidacy of the CBN governor.
President Buhari had on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, unveiled the rice pyramid in Abuja, in the presence of some governors and other dignitaries.
“The rice pyramid was conspicuously the first open declaration,” a source in the Presidency told SaharaReporters.
“The cabal led by AGF, Malami told Buhari they’ve settled for a Technocrat. This came after rejecting the President of African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, and Obaigbena is spearheading this,” the source added.
Obaigbena, it was also learnt, has additional motivation to throw his weight behind Emefiele considering the financial support AriseTV has been getting from the CBN.
“CBN has been funding AriseTV and forcing banks and money transaction platforms to advertise on the TV. That was the reason why Obaigbena said recently that Nigeria’s president would not come from those who are declaring,” one of the sources said.
Obaigbena in October 2021 also said nobody could predict what would happen in 2023 regarding who would become Nigeria’s President.
SaharaReporters gathered from one of the sources that Isa Funtua’s son, Abubakar, is “part of the crew working on Emefiele’s campaign”.
“You know, they bought 9mobile,” the source added.
Isa Funtua was a close ally of President Buhari, who served as a minister in the Second Republic.
This had prompted former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in January 2019, to lambast the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for “failing to investigate how Alhaji Isa Funtua, a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, who acquired Keystone Bank and 9Mobile (formerly Etisalat).”