When news broke recently of the nomination of Mrs Aishah Ahmad as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by President Muhammadu Buhari, though elated, I was conscious of our antecedents as a people. One will think after all these years we would have found it in us to rise above political and ethno-religious sentiments on matters of national importance, but alas, somehow we continue to get it wrong. Not surprisingly, this nomination has, like many before it, good or bad, been greeted with dissenting voices that tend to betray nothing other than political emotions.
Some people parading as well-meaning Nigerians have alluded to the fact that the CBN requires an older person in the role of deputy governor. To my mind, Mrs Ahmad’s appointment represents a breath of fresh air, considering the level of financial experience she has garnered even at such a young age. Her over 20 years cumulative experience if brought to bear can contribute immensely to the much-needed fresh perspective at the apex bank.
Further noise in the social media speaks to her experience and competence. Section 8 (1) states that “The Governor and Deputy-Governors shall be persons of recognized financial experience and shall be appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the Senate on such terms and conditions as may be set out in their respective letters of appointment.”
Some legal practitioners have made social posts contrary to this express provision of the law. This borders on intellectual fraud. Taking undue advantage of ordinary people that trust their knowledge as lawyers is tantamount to defrauding those following them and invariably conspiring against Nigeria.
This nomination can be viewed in the context of appointments over the years by successive Nigerian presidents dating back to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. I can safely compare this to the emergence of Chukwuma Soludo as the governor of the apex bank under Chief Obasanjo. Soludo was an academic as at the time he was appointed.
If a young Nigerian woman gets the presidential nod to occupy a position, Nigerians are right to ask if she is qualified. And this is irrespective of who is involved. That would be serving national interest. But to deliberately trade falsehood is rather sad. Having a 41-year-old female as deputy governor to support a 56-year-old male governor of the CBN can only portend a bright future. Specifically, if a young lady of 41 has served her sector for almost two decades, she should be eminently qualified to aspire to any position in that industry.
Mrs Ahmad is well educated – she holds two Masters Degrees and belongs to leading professional bodies in the banking and finance industry, which, to my mind, means that she is of “recognized financial experience” as provided by the CBN Act 2007. In addition, her path has crisscrossed the financial services sector, meaning she can bring from each bit of experience to bear on her position as deputy governor of the CBN. That can only serve national interest better.
Given the plethora of attacks, informed, uninformed and dubious comments in the social media since the news of her nomination broke, one wonders why – with erroneous representations like these making the rounds – political leaders will not continue to ignore public outcry, knowing most of it is borne out of mischief.