•All The Behind-The-Scene Stories
Right now, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele has become the most powerful public official in Nigeria. Until the CBN changed the colour of the naira, many underrated his influence and power.
But his decision to change the colour of the currency and how he was able to convince the President, to give him the go ahead to do so, came as a shock to many.
Many suddenly realised that only a strong man in any government in the world can initiate such a major move, which threw the country off balance, into chaos, anarchy and still hold on to his job!
In other countries, if a public official took such a gamble with a policy and it boomeranged, the way the CBN naira policy has done, he would have resigned honourably.
As you read this, all the banks are in a big mess with many banks shutting down and not opening for days, all because of the failure of Emefiele’s change of currency policy, coming few days to the general election.
As you read this, there is no cash in the banking halls and the situation has become worse with most banks paying out only N5k over the counter!
So, where are these new notes CBN printed, many are asking?
Many bankers and Economists who spoke to City People have heavily criticised Emefiele in the way he handled the policy implementation. They say he did not consult widely before he forced the change in currency down the throats of Nigerians. This can be gleaned in the way the Finance Minister promptly dissociated herself from the policy at first, before meetings were later held. The Governors were also not consulted. Kaduna Governor, Mallam El-Rufai confirmed this in several of his interviews. Members of the National Assembly also kicked against it because they were not taken into consideration.
Bank CEOs were also not carried along.
Many stakeholders were left out of the decision.
Insiders revealed that it was only the CBN Governor who came up with the idea and got the buy-in and approval of Pres. Buhari who had assumed that the currency change can successfully take place in a few months, in an economy that depends largely on cash.
Emefiele had presented the policy to Pres. Buhari as a desirable one that will help sanitise the economy and the political terrain. Of course, he believed that it will help the Buhari Government’s anti-Corruption Agenda.
As it is, all that is not happening, as there is no cash available anywhere and many of the banks still dispense dirty, old notes. So, where are the newly minted notes?
Many have also asked the question about why Emefiele is in a hurry to get everything done before the forthcoming elections, which is just days away.
That is why many people believe the change in naira policy is directed at politicians and that it is largely political.
They believe it is targetted at starving politicians of the much needed funds to pursue the forthcoming elections.
Unfortunately, that does not seem to be working, because the politicians have outsmarted him.
They have been able to get the much needed new notes and it is the common man who needs little amounts to survive that are suffering. Over the last few days, the CBN and the various banks have ben trading blames.
So, how come Emefiele is this powerful? City People gathered that what has given Emefiele the power and influence he wields is because of his closeness to Pres. Buhari and all the powerful men in Aso-Rock.
He has an interesting past. He was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari inherited him.
Before the expiration of his first 5-year tenure, he had become close to all the decision makers in the corridors of power and they all made a case to the President to renew his tenure, which he did.
So, who is Godwin Emefiele? He has been serving as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria since the 4th of June 2014.
Born on 4th August, 1961 in Lagos, Emefiele is originally from Ika South, Agbor region of Delta State.
Emefiele attended Ansar Udeen Primary School and Maryland Comprehensive Secondary, both in Lagos, before proceeding to the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) for his tertiary education. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance, finishing as one of the top students in his class, in 1984. Soon after his National Youth Service, Godwin Emefiele returned to UNN for a Master’s Degree in Finance, which he obtained in 1986. He is also an alumnus of Executive Education at Stanford University, Harvard University (2004) and Wharton School of Business (2005). Mr Godwin Emefiele was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration by the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).
Early in his career, Emefiele lectured Finance and Insurance at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and University of Port Harcourt, respectively. He also had a short stint working for Vodafone.
Before moving to the Central Bank, Emefiele gained over eighteen years of banking experience. He served as chief executive officer and group managing director of Zenith Bank Plc. Emefiele served as deputy managing director of Zenith Bank Plc. from 2001. He served as Executive Director in charge of corporate banking, treasury, financial control and strategic planning of Zenith Bank Plc. and served on the management team from its inception. Emefiele served as director at Zenith Bank Plc. and Zenith Bank (Gambia) Limited. Emefiele serves as director of ACCION Microfinance Bank Limited.
Emefiele has been governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria since 2014. During his first term, he supervised an interventionist currency policy at the behest of the presidency, propping up the naira by pumping billions of dollars into the foreign exchange market. He also introduced a multiple exchange rate regime to try to mask pressure on the naira and avoid a series of devaluations.
In 2019, the Senate approved a second five-year term for Emefiele. This is the first time that anyone will serve for a second term since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. Senator Bukola Saraki read President Buhari’s letter on Thursday, May 9th, 2019. He was screened on Wednesday and his confirmation came on Thursday, May 16th, 2019.
He has been involved in many controvercies. In an unprecedented move by any CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele recently ventured into partisan politics against the dictates of the Central Bank Act which provides that the occupant of the governor’s position must remain apolitical and independent at all times to preserve the nonpartisan posture of the bank.
In May 2022, Emefiele drew public outrage when it emerged that he was seeking to replace President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2023 presidential election. What started as a rumour, when his campaign posters flooded the capital city of Abuja, soon gained breath when a group of alleged rice farmers purchased the presidential form of the All Progressives Congress for the CBN Governor. In a series of tweets, via his verified account, Emefiele rejected the presidential form and declared he has no intention to contest.
But, in a quick twist, Emefiele filed a lawsuit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking an order from the court directing the electoral body and the office of the attorney-general not to stop him from contesting the presidential position. The court stepped down the request but invited the duo to make a formal presentation on why Emefiele’s request should not be granted.
Nigerians and the Civil Society Organisations have filed multiple cases in court demanding the removal of the CBN Governor for violating the provisions of the apex bank act.
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