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Central Bank Of Nigeria Or Rich Kids' Club? By Emmanuel Ugwu

Emefiele clearly abused his office. He committed corruption. He showed poor judgment. In this time of national economic crisis, one in which Emefiele has been shifty, incoherent and helpless, the hiring of the most skilled Nigerians should have been non-negotiable. But he cultivated the goodwill of the powerful and denied the CBN the best crop of manpower it needs.

SaharaReporters’ latest scoop on the stealthy, exclusive recruitment of kids Nigeria’s big men by the Central Bank of Nigeria confronts us with the stark reality of a nation rigged in favor of its ruling elite and their offspring. 


The story goes: Godwin Emefiele, the governor of CBN, perpetrated an incestuous, hermetically sealed employment farce that handed unadvertised vacancies to 91 people. The hires were individuals with verifiable links, often biological, to highly influential Nigerians. Daughter of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar. Son of nephew of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mamman Duara. Son of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu. Daughter of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba. Daughter of the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase. Son of Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau. 

This is the second scandal out of the CBN this week. The first was the scamming of the CBN to the tune of 190, 000 US dollars. The bank’s Deputy Governor, Financial System Surveillance, Joseph Okwu Nnanna, had violated the due process for verifying the authenticity of inflow correspondence, answered some fraudsters’ spam mails, and authorized payment!

Both of them, of course, blend into each other. They share the similarity of being instances of disregard for rules, propriety and thoughtfulness. But this recruitment scam – stick with me, I will explain why it is a valid scam shortly – mirrors the elite speciesism that sustains the unchanging character of the Nigerian polity.

The Nigerian polity is a secret cult system. It walls off outsiders. Its mode of operation is known only by initiates.

This is the reason why Emefiele’s hushed recruitment of kids of the Nigerian political establishment under Buhari reflects Abba Moro’s scam recruitment under President Goodluck Jonathan. Moro, the Minister of Internal Affairs, advertized vacancies in the Nigerian Immigration Service, vacancies that had already been shared out to kids of rulers of that era. Moro bled hundreds of thousands of applicants of their money, packed them in stadia across Nigeria, and had them stampeded. About a dozen died.

Emefiele’s recruitment is a scam as competent as Moro’s. Moro advertized vacancies he had already filled. Emefiele filled vacancies he didn’t advertize. The two recruitment non-processes precluded outsider participation and qualified people on the basis of favoritism.

This pushes into your face the resemblance of the times of Emefiele and Moro. Their times are seemingly different: Emefiele is BC (After Change) and Moro (Before Change). But the dynamic that governs their enrollment is the same: Shut out ordinary people and choose the special breed.

Absent a competitive examination, there was no way Emefiele could have determined that the children of the Atikus were the most qualified and ready to hold positions at the CBN. Emefiele selected from a tiny genetic pool. He picked kids of the powerful, as if the sole credential for being eligible to work in the Central Bank of a country is the people’s genealogy.

This revelation is a blessing. It tells us that we have conclusively completed the desecration of our institutions. We have not spared any. We have invaded every place with nepotism; even a place that should be the bastion of meritocracy, the Central Bank of Nigeria. Daniel’s prophecy has found fulfillment in our land: The abomination of desolation now stands in the holy place.

I look at that list again. And I see people who deserve special mention.

Atiku Abubakar has always desired to own Nigeria as one big real estate. The highlight of his time as Vice President of Nigeria was when he and his boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, were exposing the heists they had individually executed. They were leaking documents to the press. They were having a spirited, evidence-based public debate on who was more corrupt!

Atiku ran as Presidential Candidate of the Action Congress. He lost. He returned to the PDP to rehabilitate his presidential dreams but found Jonathan would brook no competition. Atiku joined the breakaway faction of PDP to form All Progressives Congress. He thought he was going to be APC’s presidential nominee. He had plenty money, a vast political network and a universal name recognition.

At the convention, Atiku tried to buy the delegates and their votes. He offered them bribe in dollars. They took his money and rejected him.

Obviously, he had wanted to purchase the presidency so he could exercise the omnipotence that was far from his reach as the player of the second fiddle. But he is still well connected. He has the phone number of every important person in Nigeria. He could get her daughter any job by uttering his wish!

And Buhari’s nephew also smuggled his son into the CBN. This is the time for every member of Buhari’s extended family to position themselves. This is their time. Duara knows that anybody he introduces himself to would be glad to oblige him any request. They would presume they are doing themselves a favor by indulging him. He could whisper into the ears of his uncle and the presidency would announce a-with-immediate-effect sack!

Ibe Kachukwu, the Diasporan returnee, has adapted well. He still speaks the language of reform, efficiency, unbundling, like a performance art. But the presence of his son on that list means that he is open to taking advantage of the dysfunctional system whenever he can.

Kachukwu said he took a pay cut to answer Nigeria’s call to service. That doesn’t look like a sacrifice anymore. He would have reduced his otherwise patriotic loss by putting his son on CBN payroll.

Abdulrahman Dambazau also fixed his son.

Dambazau inherited Moro’s mantle as Minister of Interior. And Dambazau swiftly made himself as contemptible as his predecessor. Dambazau was the Guest of Honor who sat at easy at a public function, looking into space, as an armed adult male cleaned his pair of dust-allergic shoes!

It’s clear that Dambazau loves his son. He wants his son to live daddy’s life. He got his boy a seat at the CBN so that somewhere down the road, a full grown man would be licking his son’s shoes in public!

This entire scam is a conspiracy to consummate generational theft. These big men have decided that their children will control the levers of the next age. They have agreed to manipulate the present to predetermine the future. They believe that future of their children should be protected from the ambition of insurgent commoners seeking upward mobility.

That’s the rationale for making this a purist in-gathering of the children of the influential. It’s the fear of the result of an all-comers, open field contest of the qualified. A recruitment process that involves a sizeable crowd of wildcards will inevitably show that the superior talent is not necessarily correlated to privileged birth. Those who are eager to escape their background of poverty will show their hunger. And that would be a coup. 

This is why this recruitment was a choreographed no-competition affair. A surname-validation exercise. You bear the right name, the job is yours. You bear the wrong name, you are disqualified from being notified of any job vacancy!

I look at that list again. And I detect planning. There is a plausible reason it was a mix of sons and daughters of the rulers.

The youths had to be sequestered and concentrated in the same workplace. They need to spend the weekdays working together. There, they form professional relationships. Professional relationships which will sooner warm into office romance. And in the course of time, the son of this ruler will marry the daughter of that ruler …and the elite inbreeding will continue!

President Buhari should be embarrassed by this outrage. The least he can do is to sweep the CBN clean of Emefiele and other officials who are complicit in this institutional vandalism.

Buhari has grieved about saboteurs in his administration. Emefiele has outed himself as one of them. His arbitrary cherrypicking of the kids of the affluent effectively denied the CBN the opportunity of attracting the cream of the best talents available in Nigeria. In a tangible way, his method represents a crime: He defrauded the CBN and the Nigerian people!

Another reason why Buhari must purge the CBN of the perpetrators of this scam is that he must be seen to have expanded his working definition of ‘’corruption’’. As of today, he is only agitated when he hears somebody stole public dime. Corruption is broader than theft. It is the catch-all word for the gamut of acts that flow from abuse of his office.

Emefiele clearly abused his office. He committed corruption. He showed poor judgment. In this time of national economic crisis, one in which Emefiele has been shifty, incoherent and helpless, the hiring of the most skilled Nigerians should have been non-negotiable. But he cultivated the goodwill of the powerful and denied the CBN the best crop of manpower it needs.

Buhari has to sack Emefiele and the brood of the rich he hired. The Central Bank of Nigeria is not a rich kids’ club!

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