The immediate-past President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has explained why he didn’t remove Godwin Emefiele from office as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) when he took over power in 2015.
Recall that former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Emefiele as CBN governor following the removal of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi early in 2014. Jonathan later lost the 2015 presidential election to Buhari.
On assumption of office in 2015, Buhari sacked virtually all political appointees that served in Jonathan administration, leaving Emefiele to continue as CBN governor contrary to public speculation at the time.
Buhari spoke amid other revelations made in a memoir titled, “Working with Buhari: Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015 – 2023)”, written by his former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, and presented in Abuja on Tuesday.
The former President said the Naira redesign policy initiated by Emefiele helped the country achieve a clean general election in 2023, adding that those who had a problem with the policy were individuals who had too much money.
In chapter 12 of the book, the former President said: “The scarcity of money was not deliberately done to punish Nigerians. Democracy allows people to express their will, and we did not attempt to control them. People understood the implications of their choices, and we did not force them.
“My state, Katsina, showed the beauty of the whole system. In the Presidential poll, APC lost, but they came back to win the governorship. Maybe they took things for granted earlier because it was my state, and they thought they would win easily. People do not like being taken for granted.
“I met Emefiele in office when I came, and unless there was firm evidence against him, it would be unfair and an act of injustice to remove him, acting on hearsay.
“If you punish a man unjustly, it could dog his footsteps throughout life, so if you would punish, you must have evidence and you should know that yourself wouldn’t be there forever. You would leave one day.
“I’m very conscious about the morale of people who serve with me. I also expect whoever succeeds me to be fair to me. I have family, friends, who will feel it. I’m very conscious of fairness.
“When he was linked with campaign for 2023 presidency, I did not ask him, because he told nobody he was getting involved. Otherwise, I would have removed him and told the nation why.
“There is no denying that the naira redesign policy gave us cleaner elections. It was people who had too much money that had problems with it.”
The book revealed that one bank chairman was found with over N260million at the time when the new notes were scarce.
“Did I take on the Supreme Court on the issue? No, I could not have,” he said in the book.
Buhari, who further stated that his conscience was clear, added that he does not judge people by his own standard