The Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Economic Policy, Dr. Sarah Alade, has on Wednesday retired and urged the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to uphold the credibility of the bank.
Alade, who for four months, served as the Acting Governor of the apex bank, following the suspension of the former CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, now the Emir of Kano, also recalled a dark period during her stint when the central bank had “four governors”.
Alade spoke at a send off held at the CBN headquarters in Abuja that had in attendance Emefiele; the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; and officials from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, reported the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Sanusi, in February 2014, was suspended by former President Goodluck Jonathan over allegations of financial recklessness and misconduct.
This happened after Sanusi had claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had not remitted $20 billion from crude oil earnings to the treasury.
“Throughout my period at the bank, I had one slight regret and that’s during the period I was the acting governor. It was the time that the CBN was being investigated. It had never happened before that the activities of the CBN were under investigation.
“We went for the IMF meetings and when we met with investors, they asked us ‘what is happening? We understand that there was some financial mismanagement in the CBN’. It was humiliating.
“I think for me, that was a low point. The credibility of this institution was eroded.
“For an institution this important to be subjected to that, is bad. At the end of the day, it was not just CBN that suffered for it but the economy as a whole did suffer.
“So I want to encourage us that whatever we need to do, let us do it right. We must not subject this institution to that type of incident again,” she said.
Sharing her experience as acting governor, Alade explained that the investigation had paralysed activities at the bank.
“I remember that during that period, I was reminded every morning that we had four governors.
“The suspended governor, the governor-in-waiting, the acting governor and the investigating governor.
“I remember that the investigating governor told us that there should be no initiative, no payment, no decision-making, nothing. The only thing we could do was to just maintain the bank.
“So the bank was sort of paralysed. We could not do anything. For me, it was a humiliating experience, but we did the best we could,” she said.
The persons Alade was referring to were Sanusi – suspended governor; Emefiele – governor-in-waiting; Alade – acting governor; and Mr. Jim Obazee – investigating governor, who at the time was the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN).
Obazee, who was recently fired by President Muhammadu Buhari, had written a damning report on the bank’s 2011 and 2012 audited financial accounts under Sanusi’s stewardship.
At the send off for Alade, Emefiele described her as “a friend, colleague and a woman of extreme virtue”.
He applauded her for her hard work and the 23 years she had served at the central bank.
Similarly, Adeosun described the retiree as one of the brilliant and inspiring Nigerian women in the financial sector.
In her capacity as the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, a post she held for 10 years, Alade served on the teams on major economic policy studies and was involved in the preparation of the CBN’s Monetary and Credit Policy proposals over the years.
She was actively involved in the drafting of the Medium Term Economic Programme for Nigeria and the IMF Staff Monitored Programme/Standby Arrangement.
She was also a member of the Technical Committee on Vision 2010 and is currently a member of the Technical Committee on Vision 2020, as well as the National Economic Management Team.
As deputy governor, Alade superintended over the Economic Policy Directorate, comprising the Research, Monetary Policy, Trade and Exchange, Statistics Departments and the Financial Markets Department.
As chair of the Monetary Policy Implementation Committee, she interfaced with operational departments and coordinated technical inputs for the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN.