This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Six Under Consideration to Replace Sanusi As CBN Governor

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Central Bank of Nigeria governorship candidates

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.

Cons - Has been absent from Nigerian banking for a while, though his role in AMCON has helped him to catch up. - Does not fully understand the dynamics of Nigerian politics. - Regional considerations may count against him, given that the Minister of Finance, Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and CEO Nigerian Stock Exchange are from the South-east. (This could also be a strategic calculation on the part of President Goodluck Jonathan to retain the South-east in his support base

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede's banking career spans over two decades. He spent over 10 years at Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) and resigned in 2001 to lead a dynamic team of accomplished bankers as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, with the mandate to transform the bank into a world-class financial services provider. Aig-Imoukhuede's leadership inspired Access Bank's rapid and unprecedented growth over the past eight years which have seen the bank rank amongst the top six banks in the country.

He holds LL.B and BL from the University of Benin and the Nigerian Law School respectively. Aigboje serves on the sub-committee of the Bankers Committee on Professional Ethics.

Pros - He is a seasoned banker who understands the dynamics and workings of the Nigerian banking system. - He is a ruthless risk manager, much in the same mold as Sanusi, but also pro-growth and in support of women and SMEs. - He is on several technical committees at the heart of Nigerias economic transformation from banking to equity and debt. - He is a member of the economic management team with regional and global reach. - He will only be the second governor from the South-south. - Like Sanusi, he can be firm.

Cons - He will be coming with the baggage of an owner-manager of a bank that he would have to supervise. But THISDAY checks reveal that upon leaving Access Bank, he intends to divest his shares in the bank to invest in a new venture. - There might be a strong lobbying against him by the oil marketers who he indicted. Bisi Onasanya Mr. Bisi Onasanya, a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), has been the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FBN) since April 2009. Onasanya also serves as Chairman at Kakawa Discount House Limited.

Onasanya boast over 23 years post-qualification experience and until his appointment as MD/CEO of FBN, was Executive Director, Banking Operations and Services. He joined FBN Holdings Plc (formerly known as First Bank of Nigeria Plc) in 1994 as a Senior Manager and was previously Deputy General Manager/Group Head, Finance and Performance Management Department, Coordinator, Century 2 Enterprise Transformation Project, as well as founding MD/CEO of First Pension Custodian Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc.

Pros - Would be bringing a wealth of experience garnered in the banking and financial services sector. - If pedigree is anything to go by, Onasanya will be following in the footsteps of Joseph Sanusi and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who were previously managing directors of FBN, Nigeria's oldest bank. - His appointment will assuage the feelings of marginalisation in the South-west under Jonathan. - He will only be the third governor from the South-west.

Cons - The choice of another CBN governor from First Bank could raise eyebrows over the reluctance by government to beam its searchlight on other banks (although Ogwuma was from Union Bank of Nigeria Plc). - He is not an economist. - He is by nature insular and may be less accessible.

Kingsley Moghalu Kingsley Moghalu has been the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability since 2009. He led the implementation of far-reaching reforms to enhance the quality and stability of banks and other financial institutions, the management of systemic risk to Nigeria's banking system.

Moghalu is a member of the Board of Directors, the Monetary Policy Committee, and the Committee of Governors of the CBN, and is also a member of Nigeria's Economic Management Team. He is a member of the board of directors of AMCON.

He obtained an LL.B (Honours) degree in Law at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1986, a BL from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, an M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, USA, and a Ph.D in International Relations from the London School of Economics (LSE) at the University of London, UK. He also obtained an International Certificate in Risk Management from the Institute of Risk Management, London, UK.

Pros - He contributed significantly to the resolution of the banking crisis which is vital for the job. - He is experienced in risk management. - His experience as a deputy governor of the central bank could work in his favour. - He will only be the third governor from the South-east.

Cons - Although it should not matter for a job that requires a keen sense of economic management, regional considerations may count against him. - The presidency may be more favourably disposed to looking for Sanusi's replacement from outside the CBN.

Tunde Lemo

Lemo, who is currently the Deputy Governor Operations, has been a deputy governor at the CBN since 2004. He is presently driving the industry-wide shared services initiative towards achieving efficient banking services with 30 per cent cost savings for the Nigerian banking industry and greater penetration of banking services. Prior to this, he was Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Surveillance. He is an experienced and versatile public officer and financial manager.

Prior to his appointment as deputy governor, he had led the transformation of Wema Bank Plc as MD/CEO between 2000 and 2003 resulting in the bank's performance which ranked it as one of the top 10 most profitable commercial banks in Nigeria in 2003.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria as well as fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers with significant leadership and top management experience in both the public and private sectors spanning over 26 years. He obtained a First Class Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1984 where he won seven academic laurels, including the best overall graduating student in the faculty.

Pros - If appointed, he will be coming to the position with extensive banking experience, reinforced by his experince at the central bank. - Although it should not matter for a job that requires a keen sense of economic management, regional considerations may work in his favour. - He will only be the third governor from the South-west.

Cons - Some have continued to question the role he played under the former CBN governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, when the rot in the banking system was not uncovered. - The presidency may be more favourably disposed to looking for Sanusi's replacement from outside the CBN.

Dr. Sarah Alade She has been the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy since 2007. She attended the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where she obtained a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Economics in 1976. She also obtained an M.Comm degree at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia in 1983 and a Ph.D in Management Science (Operations Research) from the University of Ilorin in 1991. She joined the CBN in 1993 as an Assistant Director in the Research Department where she served as Head, State Government Finance Office (1993-1996), Head, Federal Government Finance Office (1996-2000) and Head, Fiscal Analysis Division (2000-2004).

Alade has served on the teams of major economic policy studies, and has been involved in the preparation of the CBN's Monetary and Credit Policy Proposals over the years. She was actively involved in the drafting of the Medium-term Economic Programme (MTP) for Nigeria and the IMF staff Monitored Programme/Standby Arrangement.

Pros - If appointed, she will be the first female CBN governor. - She is a qualified economist. - Regional consideration may favour her. - Her experience as a deputy governor of the central bank could work in her favour. - She will only be the third governor from the South-west.

Cons - The presidency may be more favourably disposed to looking for Sanusi's replacement from outside the CBN. - Some could question the role she played under the former CBN governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, when the rot in the banking system was not uncovered.

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Central Bank of Nigeria governorship candidates

As Mallam Sanusi prepares to step down as Central Bank Governor in June 2014, the race is now on as six possible contenders display an interest in the position. Read more »