According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act of 2007, there is no vacancy for Olayemi Cardoso, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s nominee for CBN governor, until May 16, 2024.
Tinubu nominated Cardoso, Emem Nnana Usoro, Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello to be appointed new CBN governor and deputy governors on Friday.
They are in line to replace the suspended CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his deputies, Aishah Ahmad, Edward Adamu, Kingsley Obiora, and Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, who is presently serving as the apex bank’s acting governor.
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However, they may have to wait in line for nine months until Emefiele’s tenure expires on May 16, 2024, even if confirmed by the Senate, because the bank’s governor has not resigned, died, or been fired. The president may appoint a new governor and deputy governors only based on those criteria.
WHAT DOES THE CBN ACT, 2007 SAY?
“A person shall not remain a governor, deputy governor or director of the Bank if he is:
“A member of any federal or state legislative house; or
“A director, officer or employee of any bank licensed under the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act.” Section 11(1)
“The governor, deputy governor or director shall cease to hold office in the bank if he:
“Becomes of unsound mind or, opening to ill health, is incapable of carrying out his duties.
“Is convicted of any criminal offence by a court of competent jurisdiction except for traffic offences or contempt proceedings arising in connection with the execution or intended execution of any power or duty conferred under this Act or the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act.
“Is guilty of a serious misconduct in relation to his duties under this Act.
“Is disqualified or suspended from practising his profession in Nigeria by order of a competent authority made in respect of him personally.
“Is removed by the president: provided that the removal of the governor shall be supported by two-thirds of the Senate praying that he be so removed.” — Section 11(2), CBN Act, 2007
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“If the governor, deputy governor, or director of the bank dies, resigns, or otherwise vacates his office before the expiry of the term for which he has been appointed, there shall be appointed a fit and proper person to take his place on the board for the unexpired period of the term of appointment..” — Section 11(4), CBN Act, 2007
THE SANUSI-EMEFIELE TRANSITION PRECEDENCE
Although suspended, Emefiele has not been removed as CBN governor for any of the aforementioned reasons. So, Emefiele’s appointment continues to be in effect albeit under the leadership of deputy governor Shonubi as acting governor.
The tenures of Ahmad, Adamu, and Obiora as deputy governors are likewise not due until May 19.
The apex bank’s leadership and apparent transition appear delicate; nonetheless, they are not unprecedented.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan suspended Lamido Sanusi, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria at the time, five months before his term ended on February 20, 2014, and immediately nominated Emefiele to replace him.
On March 26, 2014, the Senate confirmed Emefiele. However, Emefiele did not begin his first term as CBN governor until June 3, 2014, when Sanusi’s term expired.
Sarah Alade, one of the apex bank’s deputy governor at the time, acted as interim governor until Sanusi’s term expired.
The same events could play out again, depending on what Tinubu does with Emefiele.
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