CBN Governor Succession: 6 Persons in Line for Gov. Sanusi’s Replacement

As the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, prepares to step down in June 2014, frontline contenders for the job have started to emerge, investigations by THISDAY have revealed.

The foremost contenders in consideration can be put into two groups comprising three outsiders, who will steer a new direction for CBN and its monetary policies.

They are the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi; the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FBN), Mr. Bisi Onasanya.

The second group are insiders who share similar views with Sanusi on monetary policies and are expected to ensure continuity. They are the three Deputy Governors of the CBN: Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, Mr. Tunde Lemo and Dr. Sarah Alade.

Whoever succeeds Sanusi next year will be the 11th central bank governor in Nigeria, following in the footsteps of Roy Pentelow Fenton (1958 – 1963); Alhaji Aliyu Mai-Bornu (1963 – 1967); Dr. Clement Nyong Isong (1972 – 1975); Mallam Adamu Ciroma (1975 – 1977); Mr. Ola O. Vincent (1977 – 1982); Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmed (1982 – 1993); Dr. Paul A. Ogwuma (1993 – 1999); Chief (Dr.) Joseph O. Sanusi (1999- 2004); Prof. Chukwuma C. Soludo (2004 – 2009); and Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (2009 to date).

As specified in the CBN Act 2007, the central bank governor is in charge of the official bank of the Federal Government of Nigeria and provides economic advice to the federal government.

Apart from appending his signature to every denomination of Nigeria’s currency, the governor among other duties, oversees the country’s banking sector. Alongside the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN, the governor also determines the monetary policies of the country, which have an impact on the financial system and the macroeconomy.

In a country aspiring to attract investments, create jobs and plug the infrastructure deficit, a major consideration when appointing a central bank governor is understanding his economic philosophical underpinnings.

Will the central bank governor’s monetary policies be targeted at attaining price stability and bolstering the local currency that will be driven by a tight monetary policy stance as epitomised by Sanusi or will he adopt an expansionary approach that will lower interest rates, drive investments and create jobs? With the North holding the CBN governorship for four times, it is expected that the post will go to the South. The contenders are:

Mustafa Chike-Obi Chike-Obi played a huge role in the resolution of the banking crisis that almost led to the collapse of the financial sector in 2009. AMCON under Chike-Obi bought all the non-performing loans of banks which helped to restore sanity in the financial system. In fact, AMCON’s job which was to stabilise the banking industry was even extended to the restructuring of bad debts. The corporation had over 12,000 individual bad loans to deal with and was able to approach that without the mentality of a liquidator by supporting ailing industries that were once indebted to banks.

Chike-Obi until his appointment as the AMCON’s helmsman was the founder and managing partner of Madison Park Advisors, a financial service advisory and consulting firm in New Jersey, USA, specialising in hedge fund and private equity investment advice.

He has also held senior positions in various Wall Street firms including Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and Guggenheim Partners, among others. He graduated from University of Lagos with a First Class degree in Mathematics and holds an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Pros – Unlike Sanusi, he will pursue a monetary policy regime that is more expansionary. – He will work towards lowering the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), thereby allowing more credit to flow through the banking system to create job opportunities and support SME and real sector growth. – By his nature, he will be more accessible and transparent in the position. – He will only be the third governor from the South-east.

source: Thisday

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