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CBN : Why Buhari Won't Be Wrong To Appoint A Northerner As Emefiele's Successor

Inyali Peter

By Inyali Peter

Consistently, I've argued that although corruption has been identified as the single bane of development in Nigeria, if nothing is done, gullibility would destroy Nigeria even more than corruption has. It's a time bomb that needs serious attention otherwise Nigeria so doom.

After the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23rd Presidential election, some Nigerians who were opposed to his reelection bid have been struggling to get hold of something to use to blackmail the President and paint him like a sectional leader. I have thought that the overwhelming support the President enjoyed across the country should give people reason to have a rethink about some of their unnecessary opposition to the President.

Ideally, the February 23rd Presidential election should have cleared the doubt of those who had always held the opinion that President Buhari's popularity start and ends in the north. Although the President may not have won any state in the South South and South East regions which are believed to be the opposition strongholds but polling more than 25% in almost all the states is no mean feat!

With this acceptance by Nigerians of all tribes and religions, naturally, those who hitherto opposed his reelection should have given him a chance and pray that he succeeds as his success is a success for all Nigerians and Nigeria. But recent happenings have suggested otherwise as it has been from one story to another.

After weeks of dominant national discourse on whether the President won genuinely or rigged himself in, some Nigerians have invented a report that the President has sacked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele and is set to appoint a northerner as replacement.

One thing I've learned and I've continually advised my friends especially on social media is to try to get the right information as well as verify report before rushing to social media to spread.  This strategy has helped me overcome the temptation of jumping into inclusion before even getting to understand the truth behind any issue.

The Nigeria constitution is very clear on how the CBN Governor can be removed. The President doesn't have the powers to remove the CBN Governor. The CBN act (f) says that the President can only remove the CBN governor "Provided that the removal of the Governor shall be supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be so removed".

Now the big question is, has President Buhari recommended the CBN Governor to the Senate for sack? The answer is a resounding No.

Now the next point is whether the CBN Governor's tenure is permanent. The answer too is not in the affirmative!

The CBN act says that the tenure of the Governor shall be five years which is subject to renewal at the discretion of the President and subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed and forwaded the name of Emefiele to the Senate for confirmation as CBN Governor on the 20th of February 2014. Between that time and now, if the tenure is calculated based on when he was appointed then Emefiele's tenure expired on the 21st of February, 2019.

However, from the reaction of the Presidency to the purported sacking, is it is clear that Emefiele has not been sacked as he still has three months to go. This means that the tenure of the CBN's Governor begins from when the Senate confirms the appointment. Emefiele's appointment was confirmed and he took charge on the 3rd of June 2014. This means that his tenure will expire on the 4th of June.

Nevertheless, like some public offers, the CBN governor can decide to embark on retirement leave months to the expiration of his tenure. Before former CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido was controversially suspended by President Jonathan, he hinted that he was proceeding on retirement leave in April which was two months to the expiration of his tenure. Emefiele may take up this option if he so wish.

The third point about this fake news aimed at inciting unsuspecting public against the President is the rumour that the President sacked Emefiele to enable him appoint a northerner as replacement/successor. While this could be true or false, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the President appointing a northerner as CBN governor.

Since 1999, the position of the CBN governor has alternate between the north and south protectorate hereinafter referred to as zone. Coincidentally, the Presidents have always come from the same zone with which the CBN governor is to be appointed from. Note that the zone in this case is different from the six geopolitical regions. That's under South, there's the South South, South West and South East. In the North, there's North West, North East and North Central.

All Nigerian Presidents since 1999 have appointed CBN governors from their zones. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo first CBN Governor, Dr. Joseph Oladele Sanuni is a Southerner from Ondo State, (South West). He was appointed on the 29th of May, 1999.

After the expiration of his tenure, President Obasanjo appointed another southerner, from Anambra State (South East), Prof. Chukwuma C. Soludo
As CBN governor. He was appointed in May, 29th 2004.

Obasanjo's successor, Late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, a northener appointed his northern brother, Mallam Lamino Sanusi, from Kano, (north west) as CBN Governor on the 4th of June, 2009. When he was controversially suspended by President Jonathan, a southern President, he appointed a southerner, Sara Alade as Acting Governor.

At the expiration of Sanusi's tenure in 2014, the then President appointed, Godwin Emefiele, a Southerner from Delta State (South South) as Governor.

From this reality, all the three regions in the Southern zone of Nigeria namely, South East, South West and South South have produced one CBN governor each since 1999 while the entire northern zone has produced just one.

With this I dare ask, if other Presidents have maintained the north and south agreement in the appointment  of CBN governors, why should President Buhari change? Are people expecting him to change simply because some interest groups have tagged him a sectional and nepotistic leader?

As it is now, only the north east and north central are yet to produce a CBN governor. Shouldn't people who claim to be detribalized Nigerians agitate that the regions that are yet to produce CBN governor should have one produced Emefiele's successor?

If President decides to alter north and south arrangement good but if he decides not, he'll not be committing any crime or being nepotistic as some people have insinuated but would only be doing the right thing as well as follow the foundation which his predecessors laid.

Those who are calling for the President's head over the possible appointment of a new CBN governor from the north should know that until Nigerians begin to analyse national issues without bias and by placing premium on facts and truth against personal, religious and ethnic sentiments, Nigeria will remain a shadow of herself.

Inyali Peter writes from Calabar
President Muhammadu Buhari 7568433963435897674

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