Godwin Emefiele will remain in his current role as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. News of this got out on Thursday, putting an end to months of speculation over his possible successors upon the expiration of his first term this year.
Emefiele’s re-appointment also breaks with a long tradition which has seen previous CBN bosses quit their jobs at the institution after just one term.
The news of Emefiele’s return came through from two events. First, Emefiele himself announced that he would be steering the ship at the CBN for another five years while he was speaking at the annual investors’ conference of the Association of Assets Custodians of Nigeria (AACN) in London.
The media back in Nigeria subsequently published reports that the Senate President had received a letter from President Muhammadu Buhari nominating Mr. Emefiele for another term.
Speculation about possible replacements for the current CBN Governor had intensified in the months leading up to Thursday’s announcement. Articles scrutinizing likely front runners for the job appeared on local and international business and finance publications. The dominant opinion seemed to be that the country’s President was prepared to have someone else get the job.
It now appears that Emefiele has won the trust of the President, and will be getting another shot at heading Nigeria’s chief financial regulator.
It’s worth recalling that Emefiele was first appointed CBN Governor in 2014 by the Goodluck Jonathan administration; he stayed on after Buhari’s victory at the polls in 2015; was in charge throughout the recession of 2016 and oversaw the economic recovery that followed.
Under his watch, the naira’s exchange rate versus major foreign currencies has stabilized somewhat, albeit after a prolonged period of volatility. Inflation has also slowed down. But his handling of the FOREX crisis in 2016 was criticized by several experts; a number of commentators have claimed that he has been too willing to submit to the government’s political whims.
The next five years could prove just as interesting- or challenging –for Mr. Emefiele. Economic growth remains fragile, there may be more consolidations down the road, and there’s the now constant bother about how financial technology could be driving irreversible change to the sector.
Emefiele succeeded Lamido Sanusi as CBN Governor in 2014. Before assuming the position, he had been Managing Director at Zenith Bank. He has a B.Sc and MBA in finance from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and was a lecturer there (as well as the University of Port Harcourt) before he got involved with banking.
Featured image source: Daily Post Nigeria