From Emefiele to Cardoso: Same old, odd story – Femi Adeoti Column


His sordid tale is well known. An open secret of some awkward sorts. It rules the waves with great impact. It trends like no other, occupies every space. He came, he saw, but he fumbled. The reason he was effortlessly conquered.

Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele! He once held sway as Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). That was between March 6, 2014, and June 6, 2023. We won’t agree to forget that in a hurry. He almost snuffed life out of us. We yelled, cried. He opted to ignore us.

He did not let us breathe. And that lasted for the nearly nine tragic years he happened to us. We begged for breath, he blatantly denied us. He behaved as if he had tomorrow under his dirty armpits.

He was naïve. He didn’t know that power as bait intoxicates. And he fell for it. That made him to easily forget today. He was lost. He never believed there would be tomorrow.

He was a despot. And he reigned like one. A maximum ruler with maximal effect. He chose to forget everything and to remember nothing. That was a greedy and killer choice.


He stepped brazenly on all toes unfortunate to cross his crooked path. His high point was the run-up to the 2023 presidential poll. He pulled all the strings. He made it clear that he was firmly in charge. That was his golden age. The era he dug his own grave. It was very, very deep.

And he elected to jump into the stinking pit all by himself. It was meant for him alone in the first instance. Emefiele did himself in. He was brash about it. He was full of himself and he carried himself succinctly so.

He boxed himself in. He was drenched in wild, weird, whirl winds. It was self-induced, self-inflicted. No end seems in sight for him. Not even the farthest one. He is in for a long distance run. Silly enough, he appears not to have known this. He’s not getting his act right. He’s in disarray with himself.

Emefiele looks like a “ghastly motor accident.” Weather-beaten. And that is exactly what he is. All his actions and inactions were and still are out of place. He misses his steps quite often. He causes the times to be hostile to him.

Unarguably, the reason he fumbles all the way. He cannot stop stumbling. Who will help him stabilise? None. No tears for Emefiele, not even crocodile’s. He is displaying the antics of a drowning CBN governor.

This man’s sins are legion. His troubles are numerous, multiple and in many folds. He’s overwhelmed, sinking by the second. Is he totally hopeless? Only time will tell.

He tries to fight dirty on all fronts. Yet, the beans won’t stop spilling. True. The evil that men do live with them; haunting, hunting and hurting. Endlessly.

Emefiele is a classical case study of how not to run a public and sensitive office. See what he made of his tenure as CBN governor. You would want to crucify him without blinking an eye.

His greatest burden, the staggering N17.369 trillion Ways & Means advances. It got missing under his watch. This albatross will be with him for a very long time to come.

This and more were revealed by Jim Obazee. It was a can of worms of no small means. Obazee is aspecial investigator. He was privileged to examine Emefiele’s books as CBN governor. President Bola Tinubu obliged him with that task.

Emefiele refused to take it kindly. He fought back with all the strength in him. He did it very hard indeed. His is uncanny guts. He put up an uninspiring fight. We could smell his defeat even before the battle.

He strived to deny what we knew he did to us. He wanted us to feign ignorance of his atrocities. He swore, none of all that happened. How dare you? Are we so daft? You betrayed us so many times. We are proud to disown you this time around.

Emefiele attempted to brave all odds. But that wouldn’t hold water. Not with us. We know his type. He frantically denied all fraud allegations:

“I have gone through the publications, and I say boldly that the contents of the said publications are false, misleading and calculated to disparage my person, injure my character, and to serve the selfish interest of the private investigator.”

There is nothing we would not hear about Emefiele; the facts, the fallacies and the fantasies. Sure, he asked for it all. And he deserves all, even more.

Why? He offered himself as a sacrificial lamb. He volunteered as a scapegoat. He agreed to be so used, misused, maligned, abused and abandoned. All because of his inordinate ambition. That’s for Emefiele’s trauma.

Shame! That Emefiele’s policy still holds sway is a scam. His undoing is without limit. The naira crunch he invoked on us is biting harder.  It worsens by the second. So it is with its free fall. They stick to each other like twins.

Naira is scarce. So? It ought to be strong and strengthened. No, not our naira! It is falling down the drain. The “almighty” dollar is taking the shine off of it. The more the scarcity, the heavier the fall. Where are our economic eggheads? They are baffled, dumb and deaf.

Do we have a living CBN governor? Yes, we do. We have a substantive one in Yemi Cardoso. All the same, nobody really cares a hoot. They fail to proffer concrete solutions.

They are all given to talk-shops. They are used to giving unfulfilled assurances. They couldn’t have walked their empty talk. They are unrepentantly long on words and acutely short in action.

What they ought to do, they left such undone, unattended to. They preferred to dwell on frivolity, levity and triviality. Wicked souls of the same shame.

For the naira’s unending tribulations, here is a way out. It is the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). It’s a doable and workable possibility. MPC is a creation of the CBN Act 2007. A vital organ of the bankers’ bank.

It’s deliberate intention: To “ensure price stability and support the economic policy of the Federal Government.” The reason its membership is intimidating. You would think we had got it right. The roll call:

CBN governor as chairman; CBN’s four deputy governors; two members of CBN’s Board of Directors; three presidential appointees and two appointed by CBN governor. This is daunting, inspiring. But it is only alive on paper. In stack reality, it lacks vigour and vitality.

MPC is suppose to be the apex bank’s highest policymaking body. Its mandate: “to review economic and financial conditions in the economy.” We thought it would guide and guard the economy.

MPC is statutorily required to regularly review the CBN’s monetary policy framework and adopt changes when necessary. Then to “effectively communicate monetary/financial policy decisions to the public and ensures the credibility of the model of transmission mechanism of the policy.”

MPC meets bimonthly, except otherwise, in the event of an emergency. That’s the expectation. However, a huge drawback has set in. It is a big spanner in its works. And it is tragic. MPC has not been performing its duties at all. That is one major reason for our present avoidable predicament. Very sad!

Since Cardoso got his mandate in September 2023, the MPC has not sat for once. Not even remotely. It is yet to discuss enormous challenges choking the economy.

They range from spiralling inflation, especially food inflation, to tumbling naira, cash scarcity, growing unemployment, weak export, et al. The only duty it has so far performed was disastrous. It cancelled two consecutive meetings “for feeble reasons.”

This sent strong signals to “local and offshore investors. They are reluctant to undertake substantive investments. The economic policy direction of the country is unclear.”

Not only that, some critical stakeholders were highly disappointed: “Investors look forward to the CBN’s MPC meetings to get regular updates on the government’s economic plans.” But they have not got any since Cardoso came. So? They play around with what Emefiele dropped on their laps.

It is a crossroads. From Emefiele to Cardoso. The same old, odd story and sing-song. Nothing changed. And no indication of its being changed soon. It’s business as usual.

They have made it an all-comers’ game, gambling and speculating. They rely on instincts and impulses. That’s not the way to run a serious economy. It’s the best and shortest way to ruin it.

In practical terms, MPC is our economic think-tank. That is where the real solution it. It is to curb excesses and squandering and put naira on sound footing.

We expect it to watch over the naira with its eagle eyes and utmost concentration. That it has not done. So far so bad. It refuses to live up to its mandate. It has neither addressed the fall of the naira nor halted its scarcity.

It watches with delight. Naira is being butchered recklessly. And what is more, by those who should bail it out. MPC has failed us.

Woefully too!

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