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Deprecated: Function create_function() is deprecated in /home/tellng/public_html/wp-content/themes/dw-focus_1.0.6_theme/inc/widgets/dw-focus-latest-comments.php on line 100 Why Emefiele Walked Alone - TELL Magazine
In its September 2021 edition of CBN Update, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) declared that, beyond its traditional role of ensuring monetary and price stability as well as promoting a sound financial system in Nigeria, it was poised to fulfill the pledge of the Governor to create a people-focused central bank by engendering initiatives that will ensure economic growth and prosperity for the citizens of the country. This would appear to analysts at any level that the CBN was prepared to improve on its performances and serve the people much more efficiently. Little did it know that its principal was going to be enmeshed in controversies that would not only put spanners in the works for the apex financial and monetary body, but also to reduce the persona of the quintessential, seasoned banker of great repute, given the quality and quantity of his training and long stretch of involvement in the finance, monetary and banking profession. Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, a sixty-two-year-old Nigerian politician, Economist, Banker and who has served as Governor of the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) since June 4, 2014, has lately become known by reason of political and monetary issues that left him largely misunderstood by majority of Nigerians. He turned out to become a controversial figure and thus became popular but in this twilight of Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives’ Congress (APC) presidency. The choice and use of the word ‘misundersttood’ is intentional, based on the assumption that he probably meant well. This, no doubt is a dangerous terrain to tread. It looks more of playing the devil’s advocate, for it is rather difficult to assume that the head of the apex bank of a country ever meant well by being partisan. This was the first footage of his controversies. It was a most uncalculated risk ever for him, given his position, to contemplate running for the office of the President. Although he denied it, fillers from his home base in Delta state openly declared it that he was a card-carrying member of the ruling party. Nigerians rested their case on that, on the logical reasoning that in so far as he denied the allegation (?) it implied that he had, as it were, eaten the humble pie; as such, the case is closed. But then, how will anyone assume again that that was all? It’s obvious that he definitely has sympathy for the ruling party, the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), as such, the second issue of controversy naturally derived from this. This was the naira redesign policy and the fallouts. The CBN, which the controversial Emefiele is superintending disclosed at inception that the naira design policy was to, among other things help check counterfeiting, strengthen the economy, reduce the expenditure on cash management, promote financial inclusion and enhance the CBN’s visibility of the money supply. Laudable as these intentions may be, the question on the lips of Nigerians is why it had to leave behind harrowing experiences that left majority more impoverished than they were before the exercise.
Gradually Nigerians are surviving the “No Cash” regime which analysts have christened Emefiele-economics, but what individuals and businesses have passed (or are still passing) through may be difficult to quantify. It resulted to deaths, starvation, inability to attend to domestic and business concerns, and so many other matters arising therefrom. A woman said to be pregnant of triplets was reported to have died along with her three kids inside her as the husband was said to have been unable to provide initial deposit for her delivery and the doctors refused to attend to her husband went to arrange for cash. They were waiting for him to come with cash before they would commence the process of delivery. She died while the waiting game was on. Of course, the policy created big business opportunities for especially bank managers, bank workers generally, Point of Sales (POS) operators and even fuel station attendants, it however created or heightened hardships, hunger, poverty, lack, sicknesses and death profiles. There were reports that some people became millionaires overnight and sharply got one or two things done. People suddenly found the POS business which had been shunned and left for the jobless youths as last resorts. A pastor in the neighbourhood who before now had been fulltime, taking no other engagement than the pastoral work, has a couple of weeks now, I guess in the “no cash” era that he procured a terminal and today is a POS operator along with his pastoral calling.
All the blame for what Nigerians passed through during the said “no cash” era had been dumped at the doorstep of Emefiele, perhaps due to his political naivety or perhaps he had some ulterior motives. For instance, the Minister of Finance who supervises the apex bank, claim ab initio that she was not in the know of the naira redesign policy. In other words, she cleverly exonerated herself from any possible fallout in the implementation of the policy. To confirm this further, she never voiced out any statement whether in support or against the policy while the cash crunch lasted. One would then have expected the CBN governor to be smart enough and see how he could hide under the cover of her wide authorities and commit her in a way especially when he saw the heat approach aggressively. But I suppose pride and ego didn’t allow him to do so. He was probably satisfied that, afterall the President had given his blessings, forgetting that he had a “keep mute” president who will rarely blink an eye even when his house is on fire. Controversies sometimes can make or mar a man (‘man’ here is used in the generic sense) especially when the bone of contention is issue-based. It has made a good number of people; it has equally marred others. It perhaps, depends to a reasonable extent, on the handling of it. Controversies are usually the result of misconception or misunderstanding. Generally, chances are therefore, that an otherwise well-articulated issue that is intended to produce immense benefits, may be woven in irreconcilable controversy if the presentation of same lacks congenial precision. I posit that that was the case with Emefiele’s and the wounds will take time to heal in the minds of hapless Nigerians.
Smart Mokuye sent this piece from Ilesa, Osun state. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org +234-806-164-5953