By Tonnie Iredia
Last Thursday, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Aishah Ahmad and Edward Lametek Adamu as Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. The senate also confirmed three nominees for appointment as members of the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). Those confirmed were Prof. Adeola Adenikinju, Dr Aliyu Sanusi and Dr Robert Asogwa. The confirmation of the appointments was no doubt significant as many people were able to observe a show of patriotism and good faith in the conduct of the Senate. Signs that the exercise would be swift and well handled were first observed when the Senate Committee on Banking and Finance which was mandated to process the nominations openly commended President Muhammadu Buhari for what it found to be qualitative nominees particularly the inclusion of an outstanding insider of the bank, Edward Adamu Lametek.
It all began on Tuesday March 13 2018 when Senator Rafiu A. Ibrahim from Kwara South rising on Rules 42 and 52 drew the attention of the Senate to July, 2017 when it suspended further confirmation of appointment of nominees of Statutory Agencies made by the President. The Senator revealed that lack of confirmation of members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was adversely affecting the Nigerian economy by discouraging Foreign Direct Investments and private sector’s growth. This according to him made it impossible for the MPC meeting of January, 2018 to hold due to lack of quorum. He therefore appealed for the consideration of the nominees by the Senate to redress the situation. This was accepted and the process was set in motion which has now yielded positive results. It is instructive that unlike the old Senate, which often moved irritating motions of what it called issues of public importance to discuss its own welfare, we saw for once, a national subject of urgent public importance. This column joins well meaning Nigerians in applauding the Senate for putting the interest of the nation first.
Ordinarily, it would have been out of place to commend the Senate for doing a job she is mandated to do by the nation’s constitution. But we recognise the peculiar circumstance of the subject and as we always did during the country’s many university teachers’ strikes of the past, we are happy about the Senate’s ceasefire in favour of the grass that is always a victim of the fights of two elephants. Indeed, the Senate kept to its promise that within a week, it would carry out the confirmation which it has kept to. This is why we are happy for the nation and in particular, the apex bank which in all, has turned out to be more than twice lucky. First, the CBN can now form a quorum and perform its functions well. Second, the apex bank is now assured of a progressive management of its organization following the elevation of its hitherto Director of Human Resources, Edward Lametek Adamu to the position of Deputy Governor. This privilege of enthroning an alumnus as against the now common trend of politicised outsider nominations is no doubt a good omen for the bank and its operatives. As Senate President, Bukola Saraki, observed during the confirmation exercise, Lametek Adamu’s upliftment will be a great encouragement to the staff of the CBN who will see one of their own in high office. It will boost the morale within the institution, Saraki concluded.
Adamu is more than an ordinary staff. Google tell us that for over two decades, he was pivotal in handling Project Conception, Evaluation, Contract Documentation, Cost Planning & Control, Project Implementation and Closure of several projects of the Bank, including the current CBN Head Office Abuja. He was at a time an Assistant Director and Head of the Non-core Team under a Re- engineering and Re-structuring programme (Project EAGLES) undertaken to re-position the CBN working with Accenture Consulting. He also served as Deputy Director in charge of the Knowledge Management Team to supervise the development of CBN’s Knowledge Management Framework as well as Head of Business Support Division in charge of portfolio of teams and functions, including Strategic Alliance and Price Intelligence. His last appointment was Director, Human Resources Department in charge of developing the human capital assets of the bank. Adamu is no doubt an asset to the bank.
We must also not lose sight of the second newly appointed Deputy Governor, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, who though not an insider comes along to the bank as a young woman with intimidating credentials. With age on her side, she has ample opportunity to bring a breath of fresh air not only to prove that women are quite often greater achievers but that the clamour to have on board a member of the digital generation is not misplaced. Her antecedents don’t suggest otherwise with two Masters Degrees of excellence just as she is reportedly highly rated in the leading professional bodies in the banking and finance sector. In other words, Aishah can wield a new brush to drive major change and achieve great results for the CBN. When added to Adamu’s insider familiarity with the bank’s unique culture and its key players and stakeholders, organizational knowledge and relationship capital can be harnessed to make the apex bank a strong institution that is more than twice lucky. On this we rejoice with the Emefiele-led newly transformed Central Bank of Nigeria
Painfully, Nigeria’s societal institutions are inherently weak and lack the desired autonomy to make informed decisions. Appointments into many of them are politicised with weak leaders that can be dictated to at will installed all over the place. Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode was perhaps more apt when he stated at the 57th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held in Lagos, last August that “our Institutions are weak because in most cases, their establishment is influenced by personal and short term considerations.” This is thus, a time to remember the memorable words of former US President Barrack Obama that “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” Except the CBN is so handled, the fruits of the great seeds we seem to be sowing now may as usual be scorched before they even germinate thereby making it impossible for them to stabilize the environment. That is a disaster we must all seek to avoid.