The 57-year-old banker raised the key interest rate to a record high to contain price growth and strengthen the naira, despite sluggish growth.
He is known to be favoured by President Muhammadu Buhari who particular on boosting local production and strengthening the naira. Emefiele’s defiant stance against multiple calls to devalue the naira and restriction on importation of 40 items from buying foreign exchange are said to endear the banker to the president, according to people familiar with the matter.
Prior to his appointment to the exalted position on June 3, 2014, Emefiele was the group managing director/chief executive officer of Zenith Bank Plc, the post, he assumed after spending over 26 years in commercial banking. He had won the best graduating student award when, in 1986, he obtained a Master’s Degree (MBA) in Finance from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the same school, where he studied banking and finance and graduated with a second class upper division, two years earlier. He later had executive studies at Stanford University, Harvard University and Wharton School of Business. Even though his five-year tenure ends on June 2, Buhari has the discretion to renew his appointment.
Under Emefiele’s leadership, the CBN has recorded many feats, notably attributed to his uncanny ability to think outside the box when faced with the most difficult situation.
At a time when Nigeria was at a crossroads, Emefiele as the CBN governor, proved its mettle. He drove the apex bank to rise to the occasion to bring the economy out of crisis and forestalled another one. For instance, he held forth on the economy, when there was a lacuna on the fiscal side, as a result of president’s delay in the appointment of his ministers, particularly the finance minister, for six months.
This is the first time since Nigeria returned to democracy that a central bank governor will serve more than one term in office, a testament to his good relationship with the president, according to people close the two parties.
No official statement yet from the government and the CBN.