Ohanaeze Youth defend Emefiele, accuse Akpabio of self-serving motive

Composite image of Senator Godswill Akpabio (left) and former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele. Photo: Leadership
Composite image of Senator Godswill Akpabio (left) and former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele. Photo: Leadership

The Ohanaeze Youth organization has launched a strong defence of former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele, vehemently denying accusations that his policies contributed to Nigeria’s current economic woes.
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The group further alleged that Senator Godswill Akpabio’s criticism stems from personal motives rather than genuine concern.

In a statement made available to The Guardian, the group dismissed Akpabio’s claims as “baseless and unfounded,” arguing instead that Emefiele effectively managed the naira and maintained relative stability during his tenure. They cited various policies implemented under Emefiele, such as stopping forex allocation to Bureau De Change operators and encouraging diaspora remittances, as evidence of his success.

“Following these policies implementation particularly the stoppage of FX allocation to Bureau De Change operators, the naira maintained relative stability since 2021, according to the CBN, at N411.50/US$ in August but declined to N414.33/US$ in December. The currency rate was N416.98/US$ in February 2022. For a long time, the CBN has used a controlled float exchange rate regime,” said the group.

“The decisive and brave, the decision of the Central Bank under the Governor Emefiele to sanction Bureau De Change (BDC) operators for illegal forex trading, discontinuation of the sale of forex to the Bureau operators in Nigeria and the suspension of new BDCs licensing was bold.
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“Also, to encourage diaspora remittances and shore up the foreign reserves, the CBN had introduced the ‘Naira 4 Dollar Scheme’ and “Race to 200 billion US dollar in FX Repatriation.”

The statement, signed by the group’s Secretary general Nwada Amaka Ike, further highlighted the stark contrast between the current economic situation and the period under Emefiele, emphasising the soaring inflation and exchange rate of the naira against major currencies as key indicators of the present administration’s shortcomings.

“We don’t want to go into comparison with the current policies and the CBN and exchange rate under the government which Akpabio is an integral part but all Nigerians know how it was in the days of Emefiele and now which a dollar is almost N2000, soaring inflation and other economic consequences.”

However, the Ohanaeze Youth went beyond simply defending Emefiele’s record. They raised serious concerns about Akpabio’s motivations, suggesting his criticism of the Delta State-born former CBN governor is primarily driven by self-interest. They pointed to his ongoing corruption investigations by the Economic and Finnacial Crimes Commission (EFFCC), alleging that the president of the Nigerian Senate is attempting to deflect attention and curry favour with the administration of Presiden Bola Tinubu to avoid facing the consequences.

The statement detailed Akpabio’s past legal troubles, including his arrest for alleged theft of public funds and his failure to appear for questioning due to cited health issues. They also mentioned allegations of fraud during his time overseeing the Niger Delta Development Commission.

The Ohanaeze Youth, in the statement, also urged the EFCC to revisit Akpabio’s cases and hold him accountable for his alleged wrongdoings. They emphasised that his position as Senate President is incompatible with ongoing corruption investigations and called for him to step down.
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