… as Cardoso, others resume office without lawmakers’ confirmation
. Stakeholders oppose nomination of new CBN Gov over alleged questionable academic qualifications, lack of experience, incompetence
…say his nomination violates CBN Act
The Senate and the President Bola Tinubu administration may be on a collision course over the “hasty” resumption of the newly nominated Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Dr Yemi Cardoso and his deputies at the apex bank’s headquarters in Abuja without confirmation by the upper legislative chamber.
President Tinubu had recently, through his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, announced Cardoso as new CBN governor-designate as well as four others as his deputy, pending their confirmation by the National Assembly.
The four nominated by the President as deputy governors are Mrs Emem Nnana Usoro, Mr Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Mr Philip Ikeazor and Dr Bala M Bello.
But Cardoso and the new deputy governor-nominees resumed duty last Friday at the CBN head office in acting capacity pending the confirmation of their appointments by the Senate, according to the statement issued by the apex bank’s Director of Corporate Communication, Dr Isa AbdulMumin.
The CBN spokesman also disclosed that Cardoso and his colleagues subscribed to the relevant oaths of office at a brief ceremony held at the bank’s Abuja head office on Friday, adding that they had already settled down to the task of administering monetary and financial sector policies of the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, opposition to the nomination of Cardoso and his deputies has continued to mount.
Major economy stakeholders have continued to voice their dissatisfaction with his nomination as the apex bank governor, hinging their opposition on Cardoso’s alleged questionable academic qualifications.
They have also raised questions about his level of experience and competence to function as the governor of the CBN.
According to some of the stakeholders, who declined to be identified, Cardoso has no business to run a sensitive national economic management institution as the CBN.
They argued that Cardoso’s experience as a commissioner in Lagos State about 20 years ago and his subsequent endeavour as the chairman of the board of a commercial bank were not enough to qualify him for the very sensitive and highly technical position of the CBN governor.
They added that his honourary doctoral degree in Business Administration, which is a different discipline from his “acclaimed” first degree in Managerial and Administrative Studies does not also qualify him to head and manage the CBN.
The stakeholders therefore argued that Cardoso’s nomination as the apex bank’s governor by President Tinubu clearly violates the CBN Act which stipulates the qualifications and criteria that a nominee for such a position must have and meet.
Since Cardoso, they alleged, have not met the requirements to be nominated as CBN governor, his nomination should be rejected by the National Assembly, while advising President Tinubu to search for a competent and professionally qualified Nigerian to be nominated for the position.
President Tinubu’s nomination of Cardoso and the four new deputy governors of the CBN has since last week been generating some controversies causing flared tempers in the nation’s financial sector.
Already, it was learnt, the managements of the nation’s commercial banks and even staff of the CBN are also surreptitiously spoiling for a showdown with the Federal Government over the apex bank nominees.
First News gathered from credible sources that the Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers as well as major stakeholders in the commercial bank sectors are up against the appointment of Cardoso and his four deputies as the new managers of the CBN and the nation’s financial sector.
The commercial banks MDs and other major stakeholders are said to be kicking against the appointment of Cardoso and his deputies, which they have described as mere handing over of the CBN and the nation’s financial sector and economy to a new set of “incompetent and incapable hands” by President Tinubu.
Cardoso and his four deputies are alleged not to have the requisite professional experience, qualification and capacity required for their nomination as CBN managers.
According to them, President Tinubu has, like his predecessors, succeeded in politicising the CBN by nominating political godsons and handpicked highly politically exposed persons, who are total strangers to the running of the apex bank, instead of selecting the new managers of the bank from its present crop of directors, who are “experienced, competent, familiar with the system and possess all it takes to successfully run the apex bank.”
Their nominations, the commercial banks chiefs also argued, contravened the CBN Act, stressing that President Tinubu had been misled to act concerning the new nominees without taking into consideration Sections 8 and 11(2) on tenure of such appointees.
All the nominees are also said to be politically connected and exposed. For instance, while Bala Bello was a governorship candidate in the 2023 general elections, Emem, who was GM Marketing at UBA was catapulted on the day of her nomination by President Tinubu to the higher office of an Executive Director.
They therefore enjoined the President to immediately invalidate the nominations of Cardoso and his deputies, and also do the needful in order to save Nigeria from impending catastrophe and economic calamity.
First News gathered that President Tinubu himself; Senate President Godswill Akpabio; billionaire businessman, Tony Elumelu and the immediate past governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, selected the nominees for the positions of CBN governor and deputy governors.
The commercial banks MDs and major stakeholders, it was learnt, see this development as a danger signal for the nation’s already ailing economy, hence their resolve to oppose the nomination of Cardoso and his four deputies.
Efforts made by our correspondent to speak with the commercial banks MDs proved abortive as they preferred “to keep sealed lips on the development for now.”
However, the Director of the Centre for Economic Policy Analysis and Research, University of Lagos, Prof Ndubuisi Nwokowa, expressed dissatisfaction with the monetary profile of the new CBN governor.
The university don said being a banker was not enough to qualify anyone to be nominated as CBN governor, stressing that such a nominee must have a deep understanding of monetary policies, which he said Cardoso lacked.
He said in an interview, “To be a CBN Governor goes beyond being a banker. It involves being able to look at the big picture of the economy. In some jurisdiction, they go for an academic or someone who has that academic content in his profile to see the big picture and not just balancing books like the bankers would do.
“You need to look at the foreign sector, the domestic economy and look at other issues that would enhance the economic growth and be able to work with the physical authorities so as to bring about development.”
Meanwhile, some commercial bank and CBN officials, who pleaded anonymity, have advised President Tinubu to cancel the nominations of Cardoso and the four deputies, vowing not to cooperate with them as the new managers of the apex bank.
According to one highly placed bank executive, “Past experiences have proved that appointing CBN governors from outside the apex bank has always ended up in disasters for the bank and the nation’s economy.
“The fact that they are picked from commercial banks has not helped the matters. They’ve always ended up messing up the economy. The government always forgets that running the commercial banks is not the same thing as managing the CBN, which is not about profit-making like the commercial banks. Moreso, you can’t bring in your political acolytes and associates to run such a very sensitive and important institution like the CBN. Politics has always been the bane of our CBN managers in the recent past. Remember. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, how he ended up being sacked. The same thing has now repeated itself and even in a worse form with Godwin Emefiele and his deputies. The nation’s economy can’t afford this unkind treatment always from our politicians.
“So, bringing people with commercial bank backgrounds and even political associates as CBN governor and deputy governors is total misfit. They can never function effectively like those who have grown within the CBN system over the years and are familiar with the entire system.”
The commercial banks MDs and other major stakeholders, he said, are therefore calling on the National Assembly to reject Tinubu’s nomination of Cardoso and the four deputy governors by insisting on the nomination of experienced and competent hands from within the CBN itself.
He said, “This time round, the National Assembly, in the interest of the entire nation, should put their feet down by rejecting Tinubu’s nomination of Cardoso and the four deputies. They’re all politicians and not core professionals.
“Handing over the affairs of the CBN and the nation’s economy to these politicians would eventually spell doom for the nation’s already ailing economy. The lawmakers should rather advise President Tinubu to do due diligence in the appointment of the new CBN governor and deputy governors. That’s the only way the National Assembly can save the country’s economy from an impending total collapse.”
First News, however, gathered that last week’s resumption of Cardoso and the four new deputy governor-nominees has also since been causing some disquiet among the Senators.
This development, it was learnt, arose because President Tinubu has yet to formally inform the National Assembly of the nomination of Cardoso and the deputy governors.
The Senators, it was learnt, are raising eyebrows over alleged “deliberate ignoring” of the National Assembly in the approval and confirmation of the nomination of the new CBN governor and deputy governors by the Tinubu administration.
The lawmakers are said to be frowning on alleged usurpation of the powers of the legislature by the Executive, which allegedly gave its backing to the new CBN governor and his deputies to assume office without first obtaining clearance from the National Assembly.
They’re also said to be miffed by alleged refusal by the Presidency to first obtain legal advice from the appropriate quarters before giving the new apex bank managers the directive to assume office at the CBN.
Impeccable Presidency sources revealed that the Presidency did not wait for legal advice from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation on the legality or otherwise of its action before directing Cardoso and his men to take over the running of the CBN.
This development, it was learnt, is being viewed by the lawmakers as “outright usurpation” of their powers by the Presidency.
They’re now insisting that the Nigerian constitution, which has clearly defined the separation of powers between the three arms of government must be respected by the President Tinubu-led administration.
A lawmaker, who pleaded anonymity, said, “With this illegal appointments at the CBN, there’s no way a clash between the Senate and President Tinubu can be averted. How can the nominees for CBN governor and deputy governors resume duty without confirmation and any clearance from the Senate, without any formal letter from the Presidency informing the National Assembly about these appointments?
“It’s clear that the Presidency has ignored the powers of the legislature to give its approval to such nominations before the nominees can resume duty.
“This is an affront to the National Assembly as an independent arm of government. It’s a disrespect and disregard to the nation’s constitution which clearly defines and upholds the principle of Separation of Powers among the three arms of government. This must be resisted by all Nigerians. We as Senators are already meeting with the aim of taking the appropriate action on this anomalous development.”
Also commenting on the development, the Executive Director of a media advocacy group, Journalists for Peace and Democracy, Dr Samuel Adesola, said the current situation between the Senate and the Presidency over the nomination of the new CBN governor and deputy governors is a re-enactment of the scenario between the National Assembly and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration over the nomination of the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
Adesola, however, warned that this may not augur well for the nation as it may become a source of friction between the Executive and legislative arms of government.
According to him, “The brouhaha over the new CBN nominees at the CBN is similar to what happened when the former EFCC chairman, Magu resumed office before the approval of his nomination by the National Assembly. The development, if you can recall, resulted in an imbroglio between the National Assembly and EFCC on one hand and with the Executive on the other hand. Magu’s nomination was eventually not confirmed throughout his tenure as EFCC chairman.
“So, the current situation between the National Assembly and the Presidency is just a rehash of the Magu case. This is not good for our democracy. The principle of the Separation of Powers as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution must be upheld at all times by the three arms of government. The Executive must not always violate this. They must ensure proper procedures are followed at all times in all they do.”
Also speaking on the development, President of an anti-corruption group, Coalition for Transparency and Economic Reforms (COTER), Dr Peter Chima Chukwu, said a clash at this time between the National Assembly and the Presidency over the resumption of the nominee for CBN governor and his deputies without confirmation by the legislature, would not be good for the country.
Chukwu wondered why the nominee for CBN governor and his deputies should hurriedly resume duty without waiting for the approval of the National Assembly.
He described this as an illegality on the part of the office in the Presidency which issued the order to Cardoso and his deputies to assume office without getting the necessary confirmation of their nominations and approval of the Senate first.
He said, “We just wonder why the nominee for CBN governor and his deputies were in a rush to resume duty. Why can’t they just wait for their confirmation and approval of the Senate? Why should they have to jump the gun?
“Since there’s still the principle of separation of powers enshrined in our constitution, this must be respected by the Presidency and President. There must be harmonious working relationship between the Executive and legislature for the country to move forward.
“We therefore call on President Tinubu to do the needful in this regard by giving the National Assembly it’s due regard and respect in this matter in the interest of the entire country.”