High-power politics and intrigue are currently ongoing at Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as to the fate of the top boss of the apex bank.
On one hand is the ultimate search for who replaces Godwin Emefiele, the embattled Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor who is currently fighting tooth and nail to secure his job from his place of ‘asylum’.
It has been gathered that the plot to get rid of Emefiele has assumed a new dimension.
Recall that on Monday, December 19, 2022, the Department of State Services had approached the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking an order to arrest and detain Emefiele for his involvement in terrorism financing and economic crimes.
Justice John Tsoho, the Chief Judge of the High Court denied them the order insisting that the DSS did not provide any concrete evidence to substantiate its claims that Emefiele was involved in the alleged offence.
Ironically, Emefiele battle started after the CBN announced plans to change the naira notes ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Nigeria’s political and business elites were said not to be comfortable with this, more so when the CBN pegged withdrawal limits at N100,000 N500,000 daily for individuals and organisations respectively.
Two invitations from the House of Representatives were ignored by Emefiele who explained that he was unable to honour their summons because he was part of the entourage of President Muhammadu Buhari who was on an official trip to the United States at that time.
Sensing the powers that be would stop at nothing to ‘tarnish’ his image just to send him packing and put in their own lackey at whatever cost, Emefiele has decided to fight back at the campaign of calumny launched against him by the DSS.
While Emefiele battles for his life and job, the intrigues behind how his possible replacement will emerge is slowly unfolding.
One of the contenders for Emefiele’s job, Aisha Ahmad has allegedly been fingered in a scheme that undermines her boss and eventually overthrow him.
She is being accused of shortchanging the nation in the sale of a financial institution (Union bank) that has generated a lot of controversy. Her role has been described by anti-corruption campaigner as criminal and deserving of a steep inquiry and potential prosecution.
The bank which was reportedly worth trillions was sold for peanuts to powerful and vested interests who have the connection and clout to allegedly make her the CBN governor.
Explaining her reason for selling the bank at a giveaway price, Ahmed not only denied that the sale was grossly undervalued, she claimed that the buyers were asked to pay back over N1.2 trillion that was injected to rescue the bank and keep it running for years.
The repayment is expected to span a 25-year period.
While picking holes at the circumstance surrounding the sale, human rights layer, Femi Falana said: “The bank was worth N1.9 trillion according to expert evaluation. Selling it for N50 billion is a criminal act that should not be allowed to stand. They have no intention of recovering the public funds from the president’s cronies they transferred the assets to, that’s why they came up with the joke of 25-year repayment plan.”
Falana reiterated that Ahmed’s claim that the buyers who he says are the ‘president’s crones’ would repay N1.2 trillion is 25 years was a fig leaf aimed at closing further discussions about the bank’s sale.
Ahmed has been on the path of being groomed to become the governor of CBN as far back as 2016 when she was quickly appointed an executive director at the defunct Diamond Bank plc and seconded immediately to the CBN, in a preparation for such a time as this.
She is being backed to become the CBN governor by a group led by Abu Funtua, a prominent son of Alhaji Isa Funtua, the late longtime friend of Buhari and a former member of his administration’s ‘cabal’.
If Funtua’s scheme does materialise, then she would become the first female CBN governor in the history of Nigeria.