By Abdulrahman Aliagan
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele has been described as the “Best Governor of the Apex bank in the anal history of Nigeria”. This statement was contained in a remark by the Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc. Mr Jim Ovia in his acceptance speech on the occasion of an award of an honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) (Honoris Causa) by the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN conferred on him at the 47th convocation ceremony of the noble institution over the weekend.
Ovia who equally described UNN as a training ground for capable, courageous and committed change agents; he added that this was evident in the quality and capacity of the present Governor of CBN as alumni of the citadel of learning.
According to the Chairman of Zenith Bank, “Many market analysts believe Emefiele’s skill at reversing the free fall of the Naira from N525/$ to stability at N360/$, a 30% gain within one year may have earned him accolades as CBN’s imports substitution programme which has seen the fall of rice import by 90% in less than two years under aegis of the anchor borrower’s programme”.
He maintained that it was when Emefiele was the chief executive officer and group managing director of Zenith Bank Plc between July 2010 and May 2014 that the bank witnessed exponential growth and phenomenal profitability.
Ovia likened the CBN Governor’s excellent performance and current results at the central bank to what he described as the excellent training he went through at UNN.
He said, “UNN was a Centre of Excellence that has produced industrious individuals in the private and public sectors of this country, adding that in his role at the helm of Zenith Bank, he had the privilege of meeting several other alumni of the university.
“The ‘Lion’ appears as a symbol of strength on the university banner. In reality and particularly in the corporate steeplechase, the lions have always devoured their prey and beaten their competitors to the game. I’m always lucky to be on their side,” Ovia said.
He however congratulated the graduands and their sacrifices, saying that the sleepless nights had finally paid off and urged them to be good ambassadors of the university.
“You should know that it is not over yet. The long hours you spent studying in and outside the classrooms; the early mornings and the late nights you endured, and all the hard work that culminated into today’s success story are all a preparation for the life you are about to embark on.
“Be good ambassadors of this great institution wherever you find yourself and continue to display those positive attributes that saw you through,” he pointed out.
He saluted the courage of the parents and guardians of the grandaunts for the sacrifices undertaken to support their education.
The Zenith Chairman appreciated the efforts of the university’s teaching and non-teaching staff, for the efforts put towards realising this achievement.
He charged the graduands to reflect on the fact that all of them have been saddled with the responsibility of holding up the reputation of the institution, adding they should not act in any way that can bring the name of the citadel of learning down.
It would be recalled that Emefiele was recently conferred with the 2017 Forbes Best of Africa Innovative Banking Award by the Forbes Magazine.
Presenting the award to Mr. Emefiele at a dinner held at the Willard Intercontinental, Washington, on the side-lines of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Thursday, October 12, 2017, the President of Forbes Customs Emerging Markets, Mark Furlong, said the award was in recognition of Emefiele’s courage and determination in using monetary policy to ensure financial stability in Nigeria.
According to him, the CBN under Emefiele had also shown transparency, which had helped to stabilise the economy and had made huge interventions in the real sector of the economy. He equally cited the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) of the Bank as a major boost to the development of the agricultural sector in Nigeria.