Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, sent millions of tongues wagging with his decision to purchase the N100 million presidential nomination form of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) in the build-up to the party’s primary election in June last year. It later emerged that the CBN governor had not only acquired the party’s nomination forms but had also bought a fleet of vehicles for his campaign.
As things turned out, however, Emefiele had to give up on the idea of contesting the presidential election due mainly to the public outrage against the idea. The fact remains, however, that the dust raised by that move is yet to settle with the deluge of questions that are left unanswered.
Where are the vehicles now? Who supplied them? How true is the claim that some of the vehicles are now with the campaign organization of a presidential candidate through a governor that is very close to the CBN governor? What does that suggest? A chummy relationship between the said presidential candidate and Emefiele? How neutral is the CBN governor
Since his foray into politics exemplified by his failed presidential bid, how much time does he have for monetary matters which constitute the core mandate of the CBN? How has he fared on this assignment? What was the rate of inflation before he assumed office and what is it now? What was the exchange rate before he assumed office and now? What was the country’s foreign reserve then and now? What has become of his rice pyramids?
Earlier in the week, he compounded failure with insensitivity, describing the millions of Nigerians on queues at ATM points around the country as miscreants who had no need for cash but were only there to sell their turns for some others in dire need of cash. Really?
There is an adage to the effect that when a leaf stays too long on a bar of soap, the leaf itself would turn into soap. That seemed to be the case with the relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele. The latter appears to have rubbed mind so much with the former that he has caught the spirit of a soldier
Since the scarcity of notes and consequent agitation provoked by the naira redesigning policy, Emefiele, a finance man, has elected to speak like a soldier and issue threats on a daily basis rather than speak with facts and figures. Because he takes orders from a soldier, he now thinks and acts as one; no longer as a sober, shrewd, reflective and analytical financial expert.
Consequent on the foregoing, everything about naira redesigning, a poorly implemented policy that has shaken the nation to its foundation in recent weeks, has been opaque. In his broadcast to the nation on Thursday, Buhari had admitted that he approved the policy. But from every indication, it was a unilateral decision on the part of the President, and that much came to light when the Minister of Finance declared on national television that she had no knowledge of it.
Was the policy debated by the Federal Executive Council? No. So who did the President discuss the idea with apart from Emefiele? We may never know. Like President Buhari, Emefiele is keeping everything to himself. He would not disclose how much of the new notes have been printed or the breakdown of the total N2.1 trillion that has been returned to the banks. Buhari directed that the N200 notes already collected from the public should be re-circulated. But what is the value? Emefiele does not think we should know.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai, says the amount in question will not solve the problem of naira scarcity, noting that over N2 trillion was withdrawn while only N400 billion had been printed as at February. But rather than debunk the governor’s claims with facts and figures, Emefiele is asking security agents to go after POS operators. He forgot his elementary economics that this is what you get in times of scarcity.