If not re-appointed, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, might vacate his position for one of his deputies, Aishah Ahmad, a top banker in the country’s financial institution.
Ahmad is among eight likely candidates on queue to take over the apex bank’s top job from Emefiele. The other eminent Nigerians being thought fit for the job include Professor Soji Adelaja, Mohammed Dikwa, Bismarck Rewane, Umaru Abdul Mutallab, Obadiah Mailafia, Bello Maccido, Adesola Adeduntan and Herbert Wigwe.
Recall that Emefiele’s job came under threat when the then-presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar faulted him for the slow growth of Nigeria’s economy, stating he’s not the man to lead Nigeria’s highest financial institution.
The probability of Emefiele returning is also low since no CBN Governor has served two terms since Joseph Sanusi.
Role of CBN Governor in the economy
The CBN Governor is expected to advise the president on both fiscal and monetary policies from time to time. Aside from this, the CBN Act, 2007, states that the Governor is expected to formulate, for the approval of the Board, general rules and any subsequent amendments thereto, providing for:
- The safekeeping of the common seal of the bank
- The safekeeping of the assets of the bank and of valuables entrusted to the bank
- The safekeeping of stocks of unissued or redeemed currency and the preparation, safe custody and destruction of plates and paper for the printing of currency notes and disc for the minting of coins
- The protection of banknotes and coins in transit
- The conditions under which any Zonal Controller, Branch Controller or Currency Officer may be appointed; and
- The conditions governing discounts and advances
- The exercise of dual control and general security throughout the bank; and
- Such additional arrangement which may be made to ensure the efficient working of the bank, through proper observance of security and the accuracy of the accounts of the bank.
Not far from the basics; to occupy the apex seat, professional background, regional consideration, and international exposure are considered in the selection of the Central Bank job.
According to a report on The Sun, the market always reacts to the final selection, which makes the background and track record of the appointed individual significant. Also, the appointee is expected to be globally respected by the International markets with foreign educational background.
Meanwhile, in the case of Nigeria, the position of the Central Bank governor has always been zoned between the North and South.
President Buhari’s radar
Aishah Ahmad’s name is reportedly on President Buhari’s table, with reasons not disclosed, but according to Newsonbanks, an online medium, the President is considering Ahmad for the CBN job as Emefiele’s term expires in June.
“it is not yet clear if there are strong economic reasons for this, considering Emefiele’s sterling performance in stabilising the Naira in the winds of the economic turbulence, hellish recession and sluggish recovery that have plagued President Buhari’s years in office.”
In the report, it was stated that a source in the Presidency said
“The President is being pressured to submit her name to the Senate immediately before or after the election and ensure that it is considered and approved before the end of May.”
Aishah Ahmad, 42, is the youngest member of the CBN Board and oversees the Financial Systems Stability Directorate of the apex bank. She replaced Dr Sarah Alade who retired in March 2017. If the Senate approves her nomination, she will be the youngest and the first female CBN Governor in Nigeria and the first female to hold the position in Africa.
Other eligible candidates
Aside Ahmad, eight others are currently being scrutinised and assessed for the job. These include Professor Soji Adelaja, an economist and Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University (MSU), USA; Mohammed Kyari Dikwa, a PhD holder in Accounting and Finance, whose success in coordinating the TSA and the blockage of billions for the government through PICA was said to have endeared him to the President.
Bismarck Rewane, a financial analyst and the Managing Director of Financial Derivatives Company; Umaru Abdul Mutallab, former CEO of UBA and ex-Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Obadiah Mailafia, a former CBN deputy governor in charge of monetary policy, foreign exchange operations, investment management, research, statistics, and cooperation with international institutions.
The rest are Bello Maccido, the Chairman of FBN Merchant Bank; Adesola Adeduntan, Managing Director/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited and Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank Plc.