Emefiele Is The Next Obasanjo- Harvard Economist
It’s not often that a sitting central bank governor is applauded by hordes of singing and dancing supporters, but at the APC national convention this weekend, supporters of CBN governor Godwin Emefiele may have just created history.
Whether organic or aided, the political theater is a strange tribute to a technocrat whose celebrity generally doesn’t extend beyond the Davos city boundaries. However, amid a crowded field of candidates for the APC’s presidential nominee, it’s understandable that going all out to go ahead of the pack is important.
Emefiele, for one, has remained mute on whether or not he will run. While others have thrown their hats in the ring, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria appears to be following the path of a dedicated but humble public servant who may be pressed into running.
Emefiele’s powerful, current position has ruffled plenty of feathers, despite the fact that that road above the fray is well-trodden. Premium Times published an editorial in February urging Emefiele to quit and run for president, or to stay in office and reject any electoral ambitions.
Similarly, the PDP, the main opposition party, issued a 21-tweet salute a few days ago, condemning Emefiele of “desecrated the sanctity of his office as CBN Governor.”
There would be considerable pressure on the governor to relinquish his position as the country’s top banker if he formally entered partisan politics.
Why does Emefiele attract so much lightning, aside from his prominent position? For the 2023 election, the APC is expected to choose a candidate from the South (some say the south west, specifically, but that remains to be confirmed).
Emefiele, who was born in Delta state, is described as having “a candidature with South South and Igbo background.” His professional background is equally impressive.
He joined the top bank after 20 years in the private sector, most recently as managing director of Zenith Bank, a household name.
Emefiele has also served with (and survived in his role under) governments run by both main parties after being appointed by PDP president Goodluck Jonathan in 2014.
Emefiele is a viable contender thanks to a combination of fortunate zoning, notable private sector expertise, and political endurance at the pinnacle of Nigerian politics.
However, no one can stay in the big league for that long without causing a ruckus. Emefiele has been accused of immorality, lawlessness, and mismanagement over the years. And it was before he was even mentioned as a potential presidential candidate.
Emefiele’s CV is missing one thing: electoral success. Potential APC rivals Rotimi Amaechi and Nasir El-Rufai have both demonstrated their ability to win elections at the state level. Is it really necessary? Before winning the presidency, both Umaru Yar’Adua (Katsina) and Goodluck Jonathan (Bayelsa) won gubernatorial elections. However, both Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari served in unelected national offices before winning national elections.
Could Emefiele be the next Obasanjo if the APC ticket is led by a candidate from the south?
Harvard economist Oliver McPherson-Smith argues from the United States that Emefiele is the next Obasanjo.