Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, and the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama, have joined the list of contenders for the job of Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as Sanusi Lamido is expected to step down in March when he proceeds on terminal leave, sources close to the presidency has revealed.
With the onus lying on the president to name the next CBN governor, either Aganga or Ngama, who are members of the president’s cabinet may be an easy choice for the president.
The six top contenders earlier identified, including the insiders (current deputy governors), may be left out in the cold if politics play a major role in the president’s choice.
The six persons earlier identified include the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Mustafa Chike-Obi; the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FBN), Mr. Bisi Onasanya.
Others on the list are the three deputy governors of the CBN who are considered insiders and who share similar views with Sanusi on monetary policies. They are Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, Mr. Tunde Lemo and Dr. Sarah Alade, who analysts say will ensure monetary policy continuity.
Aganga and Ngama are being tipped for the job because of their performance in the trade and investment and finance ministries, as well as their respective backgrounds in investment and commercial banking, sources have disclosed.
Aganga, who has the confidence of President Goodluck Jonathan, is also currently being adjudged as probably the best minister in the trade and industry portfolio in years.
Another thing going for him is the fact that he bestrides the two geopolitical zones of the South-south and South-west, more so as both the South-east and North have successively produced Professor Chukwuma Soludo and Sanusi as central bank governors.
Aganga, though originally from Edo State, was born and bred in Lagos, and represents the state as well as the South-west zone in the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Ngama, on the other hand, is from Yobe State and would bring to the job extensive experience as a commercial banker and regulator, having worked for many Nigerian banks and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).
With Aganga and Ngama’s emergence for the CBN job, they will be joining the list of other contenders for the high profile post.
Sanusi’s tenure is expected to end in June this year, but he would be proceeding on terminal leave by March.
Born Olusegun Olutoyin Aganga in 1955, he was first nominated by Jonathan as Minister of Finance in April 2010. In July 2011, Aganga was redeployed by the president to the Ministry of Trade and Investment, to make way for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to return as the Minister of Finance.
He was educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria where he obtained a B.Sc Degree in Biological Sciences in 1977 and the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, where he obtained a degree in Theology in 2000 just like the outgoing governor who has a diploma in Islamic studies. He is also a Chartered Accountant.
Aganga previously worked in Arthur Young in Nigeria, Ernst & Young in London UK, and Goldman Sachs International in London, where he was Managing Director, Hedge Funds.
As finance minister, one of his key accomplishments was the establishment of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), better known as the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
His only drawback is his not being so well acquainted with the banking industry in Nigeria, which he is also expected to oversee.
Ngama’s professional experience, however, covers several banks at top executive management positions ranging from First Bank Nigeria Limited, Diamond Bank Plc and Victory Merchant Bank. He also worked in NDIC where he was the head of Bank Analysis Unit, Off-site Supervision Department.
He was appointed Minister of State for Finance by Jonathan in July 2011.
Born in 1961, Ngama obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy from the University of Maiduguri and Masters of Science in Accountancy from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, United Kingdom.
He also obtained a second Masters’ degree and Ph.D in Money & Banking and Finance from the University of Birmingham, where he received the coveted Ashley Prize award for producing the best thesis in his faculty.
Whoever emerges Sanusi’s successor will be the 11th central bank governor in Nigeria.