The process of barring politicians and those with political links from holding executive posts at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has started in the House of Representatives.
Politics will also be prohibited for currently employed senior officials of the apex bank.
CBN (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which seeks to modify the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007, was approved on the second reading on Tuesday in the plenary.
A Bill for an Act to Amend Section 11 of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Act 2007 to Add More Conditions for Disqualification and Cessation of Appointment as Governor, Deputy Governor, or Director of the Bank; and for Related Matters is the name of the proposed law.
The bill specifically aims to change Paragraph (f) of Section 11(2) of the CBN Act to read as follows: “(f) Is a member of a political party or engaged in partisan politics.”
Godwin Emefiele, the current Governor of CBN, had come under fire for his membership in the ruling All Progressives Congress, where he had aspirations of becoming president.
CBN Act 2007 is the legal document that created the Central Bank of Nigeria and the office of the CBN governor, according to the bill’s sponsor and APC representative from Katsina, Sada Soli. He added that the CBN is accountable to the President, the National Assembly, and the board of directors of the national bank under Sections 7 and 8 of the Act.
The congressman added that Section 11 of the CBN Act 2007 outlines the circumstances in which the Governor of the CBN must resign from their position.
He said, “According to Section 11(2)(a)-(f), there is no mention as related to the political parties or partisan politics of the Governor of the CBN or its directors. Therefore, we need to add to the principal Act by inserting a new Section 11(2)(f) to read thus: ‘is a member of a political party or involved in partisan politics.’
“These changes will enable any person who is interested in partisan politics to cease as the Governor of the Central Bank and this will give more honour to the position of the CBN governor, deputy governor and director.”
Soli stated, “This amendment is no prejudice to anybody but because the Act was tested and it was found weak. Therefore, we need to strengthen the Central Bank of Nigeria as the lender of last resort, the Bank of Federal Republic of Nigeria, to restore its credibility from the shock it has suffered in the course of interpreting the law, basically because of the absence of what I’m trying to amend.”
“Why am I doing this? Because there was a time the CBN governor (Emefiele) went to court seeking an interpretation whether he can participate in partisan politics. We need to address that. Today, the credibility of CBN in custody of sensitive election material is being questioned. It is not against any individual but to save the integrity of CBN.”