An economist, Prof. Hassan Oaikhenan, has advised the Federal Government to consider a seasoned policy-oriented economist as the next Governor for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), following the suspension of Godwin Emefiele.
Oaikhenan gave the advice on Saturday in Lagos.
The Professor of Economics, University of Benin, Edo, said such a professional must have a deep understanding of the macroeconomy.
President Bola Tinubu on Friday suspended Emefiele from office as the CBN Governor following the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.
The president directed him to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), who will act as the CBN Governor pending the conclusion of investigation and the reforms.
“In appointing another Governor of the CBN, I expect the government to play down the issue of politics and focus on professionalism.
“It makes sense to appoint a seasoned professional, not from the commercial banks, which has more or less become the tradition in the appointment of CBN governors in the country.
“I expect that in appointing another CBN Governor, there is need to look outside the commercial banks,” he said.
The professor said that the suspension was not unexpected, but would have been surprising if it was otherwise.
Oaikhenan said that Emefiele, unfortunately, performed below expectation as the CBN Governor, going by the way he literally turned the bank to a political institution.
He said, “the British, for example, appointed Mark Carney, a Canadian, as the Governor of the Bank of England, on account of his competence.
“Similarly, the Indian Government reached out to one of its citizens, Raghuram Rajan, a seasoned economist at the IMF, when it needed to appoint a Governor for the Reserve Bank of India.
“More recently, Madame Christian Lagarde was appointed as the Head of the European Central Bank (ECB) from her exalted position as the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“There is thus a compelling need for the government to follow best practises in appointing the next Governor for the CBN by placing competence over and above ethno-religious considerations.”
Oaikhenan also expressed disappointment in the way and manner Emefiele launched his agricultural produce pyramids, which according to him were merely for the cameras.
“I, for example, had issues with his launching of all kinds of agricultural produce pyramids, which were mostly for the cameras but having little or no practical contents and effects.
“His attempt at taking a shot at the number one office, using the CBN as a launch pad, was as embarrassing as it was nauseating.
“By so doing, he desecrated the exalted office of the CBN Governor, known traditionally, worldwide, to be conservative and apolitical.
“By that very action, he trampled on the prestige of that exalted office like never seen before, thereby bringing it to an unprecedented low.”
Also, Sheriffdeen Tella, Professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, spoke in the same vein.
“The suspension should not be surprising, even to himself.
“He has over the time thrown the economy into domestic shocks through policy inconsistency and summersaults without apology to anybody. Even to the government, he is embarrassing.
“The last ditch was the twin policy of cashless economy and currency redesign that resulted in the death of Nigerians, collapse of businesses and loss of faith in the banking services.
“So, I expect a central banker who knows the working of a central bank as regulator of the system, not competitor with banks or a neutral sound economist.
“Though, I have preference for the former in this critical period of monetary management,” Tella said.