How fair-weather friends abandoned suspended CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele in his trying moment

*Cronies, Business Associates, Governors, Lackeys, desert former CBN Governor in his time of need

Yes, since he got booted from office, Emefiele has certainly learnt a lot of hard lessons: that a friend’s loyalty, like power, is transient; and that when a man is down and out, something always turns up and it is usually the nose of your friends.

Godwin Emefiele is a man alone. His phones are no longer buzzing like high-pitched alarums. There is no retinue of aides, lobbyists, middlemen and power brokers at his beck and call. More interestingly, his cronies have deserted him.

Suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele
The suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele apparently watches in shock

Emefiele is no longer the quintessential or circumstantial love object of the business and political upper crust. More interestingly, his coterie of associates and self-confessed loyalists has depleted drastically since he was suspended as the governor, of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and booted from office by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The buddies with whom he hitherto got along; the childhood friends and boardroom henchmen with whom he placed his trust and felt simpatico have become the weakest links in his network. They have summarily deserted him just when he needed them most.

Today, Emefiele is an ex-CBN governor and he commands no cult following and loyalty. He has become the banking Czar who failed to secure his seat and high office despite his protracted romance with ‘insane power.’

Consequently, cronies that willingly served as his muscle while the going was good have deserted him. They have left him in the lurch.

No more industry juggernauts and commercial bank chiefs milling around him, goading him, aiding him and caressing his pride, in a calculated bid to profit off his influence and high office.

No sooner did he lose his seat than his high society clique convulsed to a purge.

It is the kind of convulsion that unmasks a man’s true friends and friendly enemies in the thick of trial and personal turmoil.

Since Emefiele became a person of interest to the Department of State Services (DSS), his bevvy of friends has dwindled to a trickle.

These are certainly not the best of times for Emefiele. The deposed apex bank chief has been cooling his heels in DSS custody since he was suspended by President Tinubu. The DSS had claimed that the Chief Magistrate Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had given the nod to detain Emefiele pending the conclusion of the investigation.

Emefiele in the dock, surrounded only by lawyers

However, aggrieved by his continuous incarceration, Emefiele had dragged the Attorney General of the Federation and the DSS before Justice Adamu Muazu of the High Court of the FCT, seeking enforcement of his fundamental rights to freedom of movement and dignity of human life.

The embattled suspended CBN Governor had urged the court to void and set aside his arrest and detention, but the latter reasoned differently. Justice Muazu observed that Emefiele failed to show that his arrest and investigation were unlawful but noted that it is within his rights to get a fair hearing.

Therefore, he held that Emefiele cannot remain in detention while the DSS goes in search of evidence against him. Consequently, the learned jurist gave a one-week ultimatum to the DSS to charge Emefiele to court or release him.

Complying with this order, the DSS, on July 25, 2023, formally charged Emefiele to the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division, on a two-count charge of illegal possession of one single barrel firearm and live ammunition (cartridges) in contravention of the Firearms Act Cap F28 Laws of the Federation 2004. Emefiele pleaded not guilty to the allegations and was granted bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum. The court further ordered that he should be remanded in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) until he fulfils the bail conditions.

Interestingly, the offences run contrary to public expectations considering the public show put up by the DSS in its pursuit and arrest of Emefiele last year over completely different allegations.

And few people would forget in a hurry, the high drama of the ex-CBN bank chief’s re-arrest by the DSS in the court premises, a few weeks ago, immediately after he was granted bail by the same court.

The DSS forcibly wrestled Emefiele from the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS) thus creating a scene.

The DSS has since withdrawn the two-count charge of illegal possession of firearms, for which Emefiele was initially prosecuted by the federal security agency.

The Director of Public Prosecution counsel of the Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, recently disclosed that the Federal Government has filed a fresh 20 count-charge against Emefiele before an Abuja High Court.

At his recent arraignment, Emefiele appeared in court clutching the King James Version (KJV) of the holy bible thus evoking the sympathy of some loyalists.

Since his recent ordeal began, the abode of the embattled former bank chief has been disconcertingly quiet and shorn of the lackeys, friends and another high society crowd that milled around him seeking one favour or the other.

The last time he spoke publicly, it wasn’t to a patronising media crew or a band of fawning bank chiefs, rather it was to his team of lawyers – led by Joseph Dauda – who consoled him as he yielded to his emotions and broke down in court as his trial stalled due to the absence of one of his co-defendants in the new legal suit filed against him by the Federal Government.

All of Emefiele’s clique and his backers in the faceless cabal that promised to back him and pledged their unwavering support have since recoiled from him.

Findings revealed that since Emefiele’s arrest and arraignment in court, many of them have been running helter-skelter, hoping to save their hide by seeking legal protection should they be indicted in the ongoing trial of Emefiele.

Emefiele was appointed as the CBN Governor by former President Goodluck Jonathan on June 3, 2014, after Sarah Alade served out the tenure of the former governor of the apex bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Culled from The Capital

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