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Emefiele: The great talent misunderstood by many Nigerians

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Godwin Emefiele

In Chinua Achebe’s famous 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s father Unoka is described as a tall, thin, slightly stooped man who appeared haggard and gloomy except when drinking or playing the flute. His favorite time of year was after the harvest, when he joined the village musicians to make music and feast.

As an excellent flautist, he was happy and peaceful when playing his flute, despite the heartache and grief that was evident in his music. He was said to be an irresponsible man who never planned for the future with a lot of debt and no title. The painful part was that even his son Okonkwo believed this story and hated his father.

Okonkwo and the entire Umoufia clan unfortunately failed to see Unoka’s musical talent and skill for what it is. After appreciating his music and failing to reward him accordingly, they turned around to mock him and treat him like a second-class citizen. For the people of Umoufia, every man was supposed to be a great farmer, hunter and fighter and so they overlooked the most talented musician of all time.

If Unoka was in this century, his music would have brought him more money and titles than the greatest man in all the Igbo country. This is what happens when people’s apparent flaws are highlighted over their talents, skills, and leaps and bounds.

Recently, Nigerians called for the immediate dismissal of the current Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Godwin Ifeanyichukwu Emefiele, over speculation about his involvement in partisan politics. Although the facts remain sketchy as to the veracity of this claim, it is pertinent to appeal to Nigerians to please look beyond the roar and condemnation that followed this accusation and look at the very many achievements recorded under Emefiele in as CBN Governor within the for a short time, he served as the country’s number one banker.

Unnecessary speculation will cloud our vision and prevent us from seeing what a good banker Emefiele is, just as Unoka’s parents failed to see beyond his inability to engage in agricultural work, to wage wars and take titles like all other Igbo men at the time. Instead of hating and hating our son like Okonkwo did his father, let’s celebrate our son and all the magic he has done to our economy rather than asking for his head.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion and to freedom of expression which is one of the principles of democratic culture, it is important to note that Mr. Emefiele did not break any law, neither the CBN law nor the electoral law, nor the constitution of the Federal Republic. from Nigeria. If there is one crime Emefiele has committed, it will be his avid devotion to Nigeria’s economy and fiscal policies. This, of course, is not a crime, so instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, let’s take the time to remember the many accomplishments of this great finance czar, including saving the Nigerian economy that nearly collapsed under the 16-year rule of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, global economies have literally collapsed with no hope in sight. However, during the same period, proactive fiscal and economic policies championed by the ever-resourceful Emefiele steered the country away from this impending doom, resulting in positive growth in the economy to the amazement of even the IMF, Europeans and Americans. Giving priority to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the CBN in partnership with NIRSAL MFB has rolled out tailor-made financial services targeting households and small businesses. Millions of Nigerians have had access to loans amounting to billions of naira, which has boosted the economy and productivity.

The manufacturing sector has received the biggest boost under the current CBN governor. As a savvy economist, he knows that boosting domestic production helps reduce dependence on foreign goods, reduces imports, and creates balance of trade and improves currencies. By deliberately making funds available to manufacturers through the Bank of Industry, the CBN under Emefiele not only created more jobs, but grew the economy in a way that n was never planned before that time. Makers won’t soon forget how easily they got hold of forex after the racketeering and artificial scarcity created by those who hoarded forex and traded it on the black market.

It is important to talk specifically about the halt in forex racketeering and the CBN’s efforts to stabilize the dollar against the naira. What many Nigerians do not know is that Mr. President’s promise to reverse the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar, where one dollar will equal one dollar, would have been possible under Emefiele without the work of economic saboteurs. They have created a false sense of instability in the foreign exchange market, spreading rumors and fears in the minds of Nigerians and foreigners. The successful end of this charade not only stabilized the naira but also boosted confidence in the Nigerian economy. Instead of calling for Emefiele to be sacked, let us help him realize the presidents vision of one dollar for one naira.

It is also recorded that Godwin Emefiele has made concerted efforts to strengthen the naira, including the launch of e-naira which is the first of its kind worldwide. The CBN’s cashless policy has also revolutionized payments and commerce in ways that Nigerians did not expect. Many jobs have been created thanks to the myriad of businesses that have sprung up. The success of CBN’s projects and policies are our successes and we must be part of the dynamic efforts of the apex bank instead of joining the chorus of those who have not seen Unoka’s talents and are always in a hurry to crucify an ingenious banker. because his tactics and logic challenged the mundane.

There is hardly an aspect of the economy that Emefiele has not touched. His penchant for tackling youth unemployment has led to several youth intervention programs and funds channeled through the NYSC, universities, and a range of loans and grants aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with capital and skills. working tools. The Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneur Scheme (TIES), National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) and many others are some of the direct interventions that have left lasting impressions on the youth and the Nigerian economy as a whole. We cannot begin to crucify Emefiele for petty speculation without paying homage to him for the many things he has done for the Nigerian state.

Without trying to be dependent on Chief Emefiele, it is important to appeal to demanding Nigerians and all people across political and social divides to support him rather than distracting him from the work he has always done to improve the economy. For a man who twice rescued Nigeria from recession, especially in the face of falling oil revenues and the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, we owe him at least a debt of gratitude and support.

Semaka, public affairs commentator and animator of the Save Nigeria movement, writes from Abuja