Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, the acting CBN governor


By Rose Moses

The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN) has a new man on the saddle. He’s Mr. Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, who has been serving as Deputy Governor, Operations Directorate at the apex bank

He takes over the helm of affairs at the apex bank, immediately, from the not too long ago substantive governor, Godwin Emefiele, although in acting capacity.

President Bola Tinubu, late evening of June 8, 2023, suspended Mr Emefiele from that office via a statement by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

The press release signed, to the effect, on behalf of SGF George Akume, by his Director of Information, Willie Bassey, directed Emefiele to immediately hand over to Shonubi, who will “act as the Central Bank Governor, pending the conclusion of investigation and the reforms.”

The press release explains that the action was sequel to ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy. The development, however, was coming less than two weeks after President Tinubu assumed office and months after the CBN’s heavily-criticized naira swap.

Recall that former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government had introduced new bank notes late last year, with the argument that it would help tackle vote-buying, insecurity and fight inflation among others, something that never really translated to reality.

Instead, weeks before the polls, the country was hit with a cash crunch as the CBN withdrew the old notes, which drew criticisms from top personalities.

A Channels Television report looks back on the event, stating that some state governors even took the matter to court with Tinubu faulting the implementation of the policy.

Tinubu, who was then presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), had asked the CBN to allow both old and new notes to coexist.

According to him at the time, he was only concerned about the policy’s disruptive implementation and the hardship it brought on the generality of the people who couldn’t access their hard-earned money to meet obligations and the attendant consequences on the informal sector, where the majority operate.

As a matter of fact, Tinubu’s campaign team would at a point, claim that the move was targeted at their candidate.

Expectedly, Tinubu during his inauguration, made no secret of what he thought of the naira swap policy and promised to review it.

He felt “It was too harshly applied by the CBN given the number of unbanked Nigerians.

“The policy shall be reviewed. In the meantime, my administration will treat both currencies as legal tender”, he had said.

The recent action therefore, did not come as a surprise. And nothing really, surprises Nigerians that much any more.

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