President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Friday, June 9, ordered the immediate suspension of Godwin Emefiele as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In a statement, the CBN Governor was suspended following investigation into the affairs of the apex bank. Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele barely two weeks after assuming office as president. The CBN Governor’s suspension is a sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the economy’s financial sector, the statement said.
Since Emefiele’s tenure as CBN governor ends in June, it is a surprising move that will now raise legal questions. In view of the above development, Easitimes.com dive into some of the major reasons why Emefiele’s office was threatened in the wake of the new administration headed by Tinubu; Emefiele’s economic policy led to the rise of inflation under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
1. Economic downfall Emefiele’s policy reforms and operations of the apex bank did not sit well with Nigerians which includes some prominent governors and elites in the country. The suspended CBN governor assumed office in 2014 after succeeding Lamido Sanusi, who was equally suspended from office under controversial circumstances by President Goodluck Jonathan few months before the expiration of his tenure. Before his appointment, Mr Emefiele was the Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc.
Since assuming office in 2014, the suspended CBN chief has faced criticisms among Nigerians due to his management of the economy, his politics, and the apex bank’s controversial policies. During his tenure, the Nigerian currency, the naira, has experienced a significant decline, currently trading at over N750 per dollar in the parallel market and N469.50 per dollar at the spot market as of Thursday, the lowest it has ever traded on the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window.
2. Naira redesign policy (Changing of notes) In the last quarter of 2022, the CBN also introduced a naira redesign policy that was widely criticised for the uncertainty and widespread chaos it triggered across Nigeria. The policy caused widespread chaos nationwide as frustrated Nigerians staged protests amid poor banking operations.
In the heat of the electioneering, Tinubu, then candidate of the ruling All Progresives Congress (APC), claimed that the policies implemented by the CBN, such as the restriction on cash withdrawals to N20,000 per day and N100,000 per week, were deliberately designed to hinder his chances of winning the presidential election.
The implementation of CBN’s naira redesign policy was suspended on March 13 as Nigeria’s economy slowed in the first quarter of the year on cash scarcity induced by the CBN naira redesign policy. The scarcity of new naira notes and old naira notes also triggered the anger of Nigerians and even governors as they demand for Emefiele’s sack.
3. Naira scarcity The limited circulation of new Naira notes in the country, days before the January 31 deadline set by the bank to stop the use of old notes was a pain Nigerians are still yet to heal from. The affected denominations are N1000, N500 and N200, which the apex bank recently re-designed. The new notes was scarce and followed with deadline for the old note to be deposited at the bank which then led to the scarcity of both the old note and new note; this triggered the anger of Nigerians and some governors in the country.
The the APC presidential candidate in the February 25 election, Bola Tinubu advised the apex bank to allow the old and new Naira notes to co-exist for 12 months. “We advise the immediate suspension of associated charges on online transactions and bank transfers and payments via POS until the current crisis is fully resolved,” Tinubu stated. Amid the melee, prominent Nigerians and leading figures in the civil society called for Mr Emefiele’s arrest and prosecution.
In March, Nigeria’s leading investigative medium, PREMIUM TIMES, also called for the arrest and prosecution of the central bank governor. In an editorial, the news outlet reiterated its stand, frowning at the anti-people cash policies imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under the watch of Mr Emefiele.
The editorial also criticised the CBN for failing to adhere to the ruling of the Supreme Court on the old naira notes. It noted that the cash withdrawal limit imposed by the central bank is an infringement on the rights of the people.
4. Emefiele contested for president Emefiele also faced a barrage of criticism due to his controversial foray into partisan politics, which saw him contest for the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressive Congress. Although the governor tried to deny his involvement in partisan politics, support groups were calling for his emergence as flagbearer of the ruling party.
The governor’s unprecedented involvement in partisan politics attracted widespread condemnation, with experts expressing worries about the governor’s impartiality and the autonomy of the CBN. “It’s political vendetta”: Public affairs analysts speak on Tinubu’s suspension of Emefiele Following the suspension of Godwin Emefiele as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday, June 9, public affairs analysts have shared their views on the matter.
Emefiele’s suspension comes after a meeting with Tinubu last week. Legit.ng spoke with some analysts, who shared their perceptions on the trending matter. President Tinubu suspends CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, orders probe President Bola Tinubu has suspended Godwin Emefiele as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The office of the secretary to the government of the federation announced his suspension. Willie Bassey, director of information, SGF office, in a statement issued on Friday, June 9 noted that the suspension is with immediate effect.