From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, initiated moves to remove Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, as chairman of board of the apex bank.
The CBN Act No. 7 of 2007 makes any incumbent governor of the apex bank to also serve as chairman of its board.
However, the Senate, through a bill sponsored by Umar Sadiq Suleiman, which scaled second reading, is seeking for appointment of a person other than a sitting CBN governor to be the chairman of the board.
The Senate also seeks to divest the board of CBN, powers of determining and fixing salaries and allowances of its members and considering and approving the annual budget of the bank.
Umar, in his lead debate on piece of legislation entitled: “A bill for an Act to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act No. 7 of 2007 to enable the appointment of a person other than the governor as the chairmen of the board,” said apex banks across the globe have different persons as chief executive and chairman of board.
“This bill, as clearly stated, seeks to divest the governor of CBN, chairmanship of the board as obtainable in other countries of the world.
“A different person with requisite qualification and required knowledge on monetary and financial policies should be made chairman of the board.
“Separation of the two positions will enable any sitting CBN governor to focus more on fiscal and monetary policies than politics of the institution,” he said.
Though senators like James Manager, Orji Uzor Kalu, Enyinnaya Abaribe, among others, opposed the bill, counter submissions made by Jibrin Barau, Betty Apiafi, made the bill to scale second reading.
Apiafi, in particular, said the intended amendment was very necessary in view of the way Emefiele was branded as contestant for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in May 2022.
“The CBN governor went out of his way to contest for presidency while in office in the 2022 presidential primary.
“This would not happen anywhere in the world, given that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) materials were expected to be kept in the bank.
“Emefiele having attempted to contest presidency has made Nigerians to lose confidence in the bank storing the INEC materials,” she said.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, however, cautioned senators to focus on the proposed amendment rather than dabbling into the alleged attempt by the CBN governor to contest, as that wasn’t part of the general principles of the bill.
He, thereafter, put the bill to a voice vote for second reading, which secured the approval of majority of the senators. He, thereafter, mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, to work on it and report back in four weeks.