Ideas Nigeria Movement (INM), a body made up of Nigerians driven by the tripodal values of nationalism, innovation and a quest to build capacity in leadership has outlined several factors why it is pushing for Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
The group of professionals, business people and Nigerians from diverse ethnic divides whose sole desire is to see a reborn Nigeria bound by the common cord of brotherhood, irrespective of tribe, tongue and religion, said among the known gladiators and even from among those who are yet to make up their mind, Emefiele is the best man for the job.
In a statement issued by its Executive Secretary, Nadodo Abubakar, the group said: “Nigeria has been ruled by three categories of persons: The politicians, military and military-politicians. By our simple evaluation, none of these categories of persons has been outstanding or has offered the type of leadership needed to light the fire of patriotism, selflessness and productivity that is required to lift the fortunes of Nigerians.
“None has provided the type of vision-driven and target-focused leadership that would help Nigerian youths unleash their creative talents, innovative energies and resourcefulness all of which make them excel overseas each time they have the opportunity,” the group said, adding that Emefiele is the right man to fill the void in good governance missing in Nigeria.
The group mentioned metrics such as economic management, curtailing insecurity, fighting corruption and promoting innovation as the immediate needs of the nation, positing that Emefiele, given the courage and vision he demonstrated at CBN, would offer 21st century leadership that would guide Nigeria out of her current quagmire.
On economy, the group said: “Through the multi-sectoral interventions by CBN under his watch, Nigeria has improved her non-oil export, increased local production and yield in agriculture, empowered young Nigerians to play active roles in the agro-business value chain. Deploying the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, ABP alone, CBN has created over 12 million jobs in agriculture, and the number is still growing.
The group faulted those who blame Emefiele for the fall of the naira at the forex market, saying since the advent of the IMF-led Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1986, and the introduction of the Second Tier Foreign Exchange Market (SFEM), the Naira has been on a one-way free fall from parity to the US Dollar in 1984 to over N500/USD today.
“What past CBN governors did in their time was to pump huge volumes of dollars into the market to defend Naira. Such disingenuous economics, albeit a knee jerk approach rather than help to grow the economy, left a big gash in the national treasury and created emergency forex billionaires, who turned forex market into a criminal enterprise.
“But for Emefiele’s courage to stop non-funding of importation of over 40 items, a tough decision on the basis of which he became a subject of blackmail, Nigeria would have been wasting scarce forex to import rice, wheat and other farm produce all of which are today being produced in commercial quantity in Nigeria.
“Through the ABP, Nigeria achieved a significant reduction in the country’s rice import bill from $1.05 billion annually prior to November 2015, to the current figure of $18.50 million, annually,” the statement said.
INM said going by the testimony of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Emefiele is the “Best CBN Governor ever and the Best Friend of the Nigerian Farmer.”
The statement continues: “Emefiele’s mastery of sound economic management in moments of adversity helped Nigeria to exit recession twice, faster than predicted, at a time other oil-producing economies namely – Russia, Angola, Brunei, Kuwait – were mired in the pit of recession for longer periods.
“His master class performance in the containment of Covid-19 pandemic through championing the creation of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private-sector driven initiative that raised funds to further the fight against the spread of the pandemic earned Nigeria a resounding commendation from the IMF in its latest Article IV Consultation released this month.”
On insecurity, the group noted: “We can no longer rely on the old and outmoded models of importing more arms and ammunition or recruiting more security personnel and throwing them into the battlefield without the infusion of technology into their operations to improve their intelligence gathering, surveillance and strategic attack mechanisms. Emefiele, being a tech-minded leader, is a perfect fit to fight the horror of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of insecurity manifestations.”
It said given the boldness exhibited by Emefiele in caging the forex scammers, import fraudsters and the manner he has ran CBN to reflect the diversity of the nation, he has demonstrated the kind of boldness needed to tackle corruption.
The group noted that Nigeria needs an innovation-minded President and that Emefiele has shown a strong bias for digital innovation, creative industries and building modern infrastructure as exemplified by the recently launched N15trillion infrastructure corporation. This makes him the leader Nigeria needs in 2023, INM said.