Nigerian central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele has not decided to run for president next February or for another elected office and will remain in his current post, he said on Saturday after critics called on him to resign following reports of his political ambitions.
After a spokesperson for the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) said on Friday Emefiele had bought forms to contest the party’s presidential nomination this month, he tweeted: “I have not come to that decision.”
Mr Emefiele said he would continue to serve as central bank governor and would clarify his ambitions in the next few days.
Reports of Emefiele’s presidential bid sent the naira close to a record low of 591 per dollar on the black market on Friday, against a range of 413 to 417 naira on the official market where it has traded this year.
President Muhammadu Buhari will step down after serving two four-year terms following the February 2023 ballot. The APC has set its primaries to decide on its presidential candidate for May 30 and 31.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Lagos state governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu are frontrunners in the race to be the next candidate to head Africa’s top economy.
Political parties in Nigeria should pick presidential candidates by June 3, according to the Electoral Commission, while official campaigning will begin in September.
Mr Emefiele is serving a second term at the central bank where he has pursued dovish policies on interest rates, introduced currency controls, and launched a company to help build infrastructure in Nigeria.
Political power in Nigeria tends to shift between the oil-rich, largely Christian south, and the poorer, mostly Muslim north. President Buhari is from northern Katsina state and APC’s next candidate is expected to come from the south.
Mr Emefiele, the 60-year-old economist has explained that the nomination forms for his candidacy were bought on his behalf by a group of his supporters.
It costs 100m naira (about $240,000, £195,000) to purchase the APC’s nomination papers.
Mr Emefiele said it was a serious decision to take and he would make it over the coming days – and would buy his own forms if he did go ahead.