The speech by Nigeria’s central bank governor in Washington was so long many thought it was a valedictory speech Updated for 2021

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Updated: February 28, 2021


The governor of the central bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emiefele, has been counting the days, the hours, the minutes and the seconds. His tenure would be coming to an in June and his fate now lies in the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari, a notherner sometimes accused of appointing mainly northerners to high profile positions.

And so when Emiefele, a southerner, addressed foreign investors and a sea of Nigerian journalists at the luxurious Willard Intercontinental hotel in Washington D.C. last week on the sidelines of the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings, he gave a very long speech, patting himself on the back for a job well done.

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GODWIN EMIEFELE, the Central Bank Governor at the 2019 World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings addresses journalists in Washington D.C. on Sunday April 14, 2019. Photo: EMMANUEL IKODOR, TODAY NEWS AFRICA

His speech was so long that many thought it was a valedictory speech, a way of saying goodbye while he still can.

He spoke for about 40 minutes in a city where speeches are often 3 to 5 minutes maximum, except the State of the Union Address by the American President that often goes past an hour.

Mr. Emiefele began his speech with how he met the Nigerian economy in 2014 when he was appointed by Goodluck Jonathan with collapsed oil prices, skyrocketing inflation, depleted foreign reserves and global tensions that greatly affected Nigeria.

He spoke for about 40 minutes in a city where speeches are often 3 to 5 minutes maximum, except the State of the Union Address by the American President that often goes past an hour.

His monetary and fiscal policies as well as a rebound of the global economy placed Nigeria again on the path for growth.

According to him, the country exited recession, reduced inflation and began to replenish foreign reserves again while stabilizing the naira.

The way forward, he concluded, was to sustain the winning policies.

But for now, no one knows whether President Muhammadu Buhari would sustain the man behind most of those policies. Mr Emiefele would keep counting the hours as we approach the month of June.

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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