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President Tinubu sacks Nigeria’s Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele

President Tinubu sacks Nigeria’s Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele

Nigeria’s president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has suspended the country’s Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, from office with immediate effect.

The director of information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, disclosed this in a statement Friday night.

The suspension is sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy, the statement said.

Mr Emefiele has been directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), who will act as the Central Bank governor pending the conclusion of investigation and the reforms.

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 Nigerian 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, Nigeria’s 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, 9 May 2019. He was screened on Wednesday and his confirmation came on Thursday, 16 May 2019.

Controversy

In an unprecedented move by any chief of the Nigerian apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, in the build-up to the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, 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 rumor when campaign posters of the bank chief flooded the capital city of Abuja soon gained breath when a group of alleged rice farmers purchased the presidential form of the All Progressive 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 filed multiple cases in court to demand the removal of the CBN Governor and accusing him of violating multiple provisions of the Central Bank Act.

 

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