AS the race on who succeeds the incumbent Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi in June next year gets tougher, there are strong indications that the Presidency and key cabinet members of the administration may have settled for the Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.
Since Sanusi confirmed in March this year that he will not seek second term, various individuals have been jostling for the plum job.
Apart from Imoukhuede, Bauchi State Governor, Isa Yuguda; Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Atedo Peterside and a renowned economist and Chief Executive Officer, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr Bismarck Rewane, among others, were speculated as frontline contestants.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that apart from the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala and Sanusi, President Goodluck Jonathan has given his full support to the Access Bank boss to clinch the job.
A source close to Imoukhuede confirmed to Nigerian Tribune that the coordinating Minister of the Economy and Mallam Sanusi actually sold the candidature of the Access Bank boss to President Jonathan.
With this development, President Jonathan may have dumped his kinsman, Peterside. The Stanbic IBTC Chairman was also said to rely heavily on Sanusi, a fellow Kings College old boy.
Industry watchers are not surprised at the present scenario as Imoukhuede has been the unofficial personal assistant to the incumbent CBN Governor. Apart from defending Sanusi’s policy at any given forum, he is said to have been understudying him in the last two years.
Imoukhuede who is a member of the Nigeria Economic Management Team (NEMT) is also believed to be a member of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ of President Jonathan which has seen him handling many committees including that of the fuel subsidy.
A financial analyst who pleaded anonymity told Nigerian Tribune that the industry is already expecting Imoukhuede to succeed Sanusi as the next CBN Governor.
According to him, over time, Sanusi has seen Imoukhuede as somebody he can trust and rely on, stressing that the duo are always together at every event.
“We will not be surprised. Imoukhuede is a brilliant young man. He knows what he wants and will always go for it. Apart from Sanusi, he is close to his colleagues and even the Presidency. I wish him good luck,” he said.
JD:It is a pity that the president has this knack of bringing his new found friends into Government and sees appointments more as a tool for compensating friends and associates as opposed to ability for such recipients to perform.What makes Imoukhuede qualify y as a CBN governor over and above a more cerebral Bismark Rewane still intrigues me.There is this general feeling that a CBN governor must have a banking background,but not necessarily so. A background in economics and a cerebral mind to me are more of the prerequisites needed.Now let me ask,how do we discount the fact that Imoukhuede’s name keeps popping up in the fuel subsidy scandal?In what perspective do we put the past scandals his bank,Access Bank has been alleged to be involved in?Would he be as bold as Sanusi in carrying out his functions vis a vis govermnent policy and spending or will he be covering his friends backside.Time will tell