When former President Muhammadu Buhari, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, reappointed Godwin Emefiele, a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on June 2, 2019, the Delta state born top banker, never knew that a day of reckoning will come when he will be made to account for all his wrong doings in office.
On Friday, June 9, 2023, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, suspended Emefiele, Buhari’s right hand man, sequel ‘’to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the nation’s, Financial sector’’. The Nigerian President was said to have replaced him with Folashodun Shonubi, the apex bank, deputy governor, overseeing the Operations Directorate.
The former CBN, governor, may have known that he is the target of the Tinubu’s Administration because of the role he played under the Buhari’s Administration, who appears to have abandoned him to face the music without chipping in a word to Tinubu, his political ally to secure his release . Note that Emefiele, was power broker in the Buhari’s Administration , always talking tough as if there will be no tomorrow.
He was said to have made his case worse by making mockery of the office of the CBN, governor, by dabbling into politics to contest for the Presidency on the [platform of the APC. The embattled CBN governor, was said to have allegedly picked the APC N100 million Presidential nomination and expression of interest form in May 2022, while still in the employ of the bank which many top officials of the ruling APC, including the current Nigerian President did not find funny . but were waiting for an opportunity to show him the other side of politics.
On Saturday, June 10, 2023, a private jet, with the full compliments of DSS, operatives, had arrived in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre, arrested and handcuffed him. He was said to have been ushered into a waiting vehicle at the scene of his arrest and taken to the Local wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport where he was taken into private jet and flown back to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and was quickly to the DSS, custody, for questioning.
Peter Ifunanya, DSS, spokesperson, of the secret police, who initially denied that the former apex bank governor was not in their custody had confirmed after much pressure from Journalists that he is in their custody for some undisclosed ‘’investigative reasons’’. The Punch had reported that the secret police appears set to approach the Court to obtain an order ‘’to keep the suspended CBN governor, in its custody for as long as his interrogation will last’’.
Nyensom Wike, immediate past governor of Rivers state, who have reached a deal with Tinubu , prior to the February 25, 2023, Ppesidential election , had described the suspension from office of the former CBN, governor as ‘’bold ‘’ statement by the present Administration that there is no hiding place for those who have brought the country to its economic knees with the last eight years.
The former Rivers state governor has been a strong critic of Emefiele’s monetary policies,particular, the naira redesign and naira swap policies, which was said to have thrown the country into crisis as people could not have access to their bank accounts, let alone withdraw money to do their business transactions within the country.
The Leadership of the Opposition Labour Party, LP, who had dragged the Nigerian President ,and the APC, to the Presidential Election Tribunal, PET,to contest the party ‘s victory, in the last Presidential election, had said that the suspension and investigation of Emefiele, the former CBN, governor ought not to have been the priority of the present Administration for now.
The party was said to have urged the Nigerian President ‘’to investigate the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under the chairmanship of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, instead of wasting his efforts in investigating the CBN, under EMefiele, the immediate past CBN , governor.
. The party was emphatic, that’’ if there is any government agency that should be investigated with utmost urgency, it should be the INEC’’ while there are those who would want the Nigerian Air, conceived and executed by the Buhari’S Administration and supervised by Senator Hadi Sirika, a former minister of Aviation , which was said to have gulped billions of naira between 2019 and now with nothing to show to be investigated.
Despite the LP, opposition to the removal of Emefiele from office, without the permission of the 10thNational Assembly, the party was said to have asked Tinubu, ‘’to carry out a thorough investigation of the apex bank former governor’’ , particular, ‘’the ruling party interference in the operation of the bank over the last four years’’, stating that the party and Nigerians in general will not tolerate ‘’ political and peripheral investigation’’.
The DSS Authorities, which have the backing of the President, may have known that the agency cannot afford to fail in their investigation that they were said to have assembled a team of crack interrogators to quiz, the Delta state top banker on issues , that bothers on allegations of financing, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, mismanagement of the economy and the apex bank to naira redesign and naira swap policies to obtain statements from him.
Given the importance attached to the CBN, probe, under Emefiele, here are indications that some other top Directors of the apex bank will be interrogated in the coming weeks as well as part of a comprehensive probe of the bank as directed by the President.
A source disclosed that the secret police may likely go after the senior officials of the bank in the procurement Department as well as the special advisers to the embattled CBN governor, including a former special Adviser who has retired from the bank believed to have an inside knowledge of all the actions taken by Emefiele because of their close working relationship while still working with him in the bank.
Financial analysts believe that the Nigerian President may have had enough reasons to go after the suspended CBN, governor , who was in the good book of Buhari, the Katsina state born Nigerian former President. The news making the rounds was that the former apex bank governor’s removal from office barely two weeks in office of Tinubu, was tied allegedly to a mouth-watering sum of $1billion scandal that was said to have unfolded before the Presidential inauguration on May 29, 22023.
It was reported that the immediate past CBN, governor’s borrowing of $1billion from Afrexim bank on April 24, 2023, after the elections and during preparations for the May 29, 2023, inauguration, when $750 million, was said to have been swiftly transferred to Aliko Dangote, President Dangote Industries’, Dubai accounts in Form A.
The report in CBN, circles, was that Emefiele, had sold the dollars to Dangote at a rock bottom exchange rate of N445.00 to the North American country of the United States, US, dollar. The Presidency may have gotten wind of the illegal transactions as the bank official raised alarm, highlighting ‘’the potential for money laundering and illicit activities in the nation’s financial system’’.
Emefiele’s prb;em with the Tinubu’s Administration may have started when Vice President Kashim Shettima, had given an insight to the new Administration’s policy trust when he declared that subsidy and multiple exchange rate of the Buhari’s Administration would be tackled headlong. Under Emefiele, as the CBN, governor, the country’s exchange rate of the naira to the US, dollar, has continued to fluctuate. Last Thursday, it was said to be exchanging at the investors and importers window, at N469.50 to the US, dollar, at the official foreign exchange market.
The major problem hanging Emefiele’s neck was the subsidy payment believed to be a scam. In a military style, Tinubu, had removed the oil subsidy, on May 29, 2023, during his inauguration on May 29, 2023, claiming that the Buhari’s Administration did not make any provision for subsidy in the 2023 budget.
At a recent meeting with Traditional Rulers, across the country at the Villa, Tinubu, has justified the removal of the oil subsidy on the ground that the said to have country cannot continue ‘’to feed smugglers across the country’s borders and be father Christmas to the neighbouring West African countries of Benin Republic, Niger, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroun’’. Take for instance, in 2022, the government was said to have spent about $10 billion subsidizing fuel importation into the country.
Until Emefiele’s removal from office, last Friday, Tinubu, was said to have met him, alongside with Mele Kolo Kyari, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, now batptised , Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the National Assembly, which has been signed into Law by the former Nigerian President in August , 2021, over the vexed issue of oil subsidy. The President was sad to have also met with Abdulaziz Bawa, Chairman, Ecnomic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to get to the root of the matter.
Even Femi Gbajabiamila, a former Speaker of the House Representatives, who is expected to assume duties on June 14, 2023, as the President’s Chief of Staff and James Faleke, an elected member of the 10th House of Representativesand Tinubu’s political ally, were said to be at the closed door as well.
I a related development, Vice President Shettima, had dropped a bomb shell for the incoming 10th National Assembly by telling them that ‘’he stability of the nation is superior to the stability of their pockets’’.
Remi Tinubu, the First Lady, and a three- time Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria had said that at a time she has contemplated retiring from active politics to face her home , noting that ‘’it takes a lot of sacrifice s to want to give time to serve the nation’’.
Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Abia state, who has declared his interest to contest for the position of the Senate President had said that before he joined politics, he could buy anything that money can buy but regretted that his’’ political enemies conspired and put him in prison for no reason’’.
He averred that the political enemies who took over his businesses, had a mindset to kill him but he survived all the attempts and now back to the Senate to contribute his quota to the development of the country under the Tinubu’s Administration. The former Abia state governor had lamented that ‘’the country was not fair to him, and would want the APC, controlled Senate to reward him with the position of the Senate based on his contribution to the party , financially and given his time. He may have to convince the Nigerian President and the APC, Leader, including the party leadership why he should be supported to emerge as the 10th Senate President instaed not Godwell Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state and a one –time minime minister of the Niger Delta , who already have the support of the President.