Government sources told Reuters on Friday that the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, resigned last month, effectively clearing the way for President Bola Tinubu to replace him.
Emefiele was suspended as the CBN Governor by President Tinubu in June and later detained by state police and charged with procurement fraud.
President Tinubu has nominated the former head of Citibank in Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso, to serve as the country’s new Central Bank governor, days before its next interest rate meeting, a presidential spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, said on Friday
“The President sent Cardoso’s nomination to the Senate for confirmation alongside four new deputy governors.
“This directive is in conformity with Section 8 (1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, which vests in the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the authority to appoint the Governor and Four (4) Deputy Governors for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), subject to confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Furthermore, President Bola Tinubu has approved the nomination of four new Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for a term of five (5) years at the first instance, pending their confirmation by the Nigerian Senate, as listed below: Mrs. Emem Nnana Usoro; Mr. Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo; Mr. Philip Ikeazor and Dr. Bala M. Bello,” Ngelale said.
The CBN did not respond to a request for comment on whether Emefiele and his deputy governors had resigned. Ngelale declined to comment when asked about Emefiele’s resignation.
“The President expects the above listed nominees to successfully implement critical reforms at the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enhance the confidence of Nigerians and international partners,” Ngelale added in a statement.
The CBN raised rates by a smaller-than-expected 25 basis points in July, contrary to analysts’ expectations, under acting Governor Folashondun Shonubi, one of Emefiele’s deputies.
The bank is due to set rates again on September 26 and some analysts expect a more hawkish stance.
Tinubu had promised a “thorough house cleaning” of monetary policy, during his inauguration in May and said that the CBN should work towards lower interest rates after criticizing Emefiele’s handling of the currency.
The CBN pursued unorthodox policies under Emefiele who kept the currency artificially strong, a policy backed by former President Muhammadu Buhari, which supported government borrowings on the international markets.
Nigeria’s new government wants to encourage investments rather than rely on borrowing to create jobs as it tries to revive an economy struggling with record debt, a weak currency, double-digit inflation and fragile power supplies.
Cardoso was part of the team that had been working on an economic blueprint for the new government.
He was a former Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos State when Tinubu was governor between 1999 and 2007. (Reuters).