With 2023 just by the corner, and the two major political parties in Nigeria yet to decide on where to zone their presidential ticket to, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), appears to be divided over the presidential ambitions of some of its prominent members.
This development has sparked fears that the ruling party may be torn apart, thus giving the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) an edge.
A cabal purportedly led by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami is said to be strongly behind the push for Emefiele to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of other strong contenders in the party like Bola Tinubu, or even the rumoured candidacy of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Another prominent member of the cabal is media entrepreneur, Nduka Obaigbena, founding Chairman of Arise News and Editor-In-Chief of THISDAY Newspaper.
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”.
It would be recalled that over the weekend, Emefiele’s supporters, mainly youths, were spotted with 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.
Aside the event, it was also 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, used to sell the candidacy of Emefiele.
“The rice pyramid was conspicuously the first open declaration.
“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,” a source in the Presidency informed.
It was also learnt that Obaigbena on his part, 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.
Recall that Obaigbena conspicuously in October 2021, said that nobody could predict what would happen in 2023 regarding who would become Nigeria’s President.
It was also gathered from one of the sources that Abubakar, son of Isa Funtua who was a close ally of President Buhari, and served as a Minister in the Second Republic, is “part of the crew working on Emefiele’s campaign”.
“You know, they bought 9mobile,” the source added.
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had in January 2019, rebuked 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).”