The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Wednesday described the five-year tenure of Prof Chukuwma Soludo as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a failure and a disaster to the banking sector.
Soludo who was the apex bank governor between May 2004 and May 2009, had on Monday written an article where he claimed that the Nigerian economy under President Goodluck Jonathan had performed woefully.
Okonjo-Iweala, while reacting through a statement issued by her Special Adviser Communications, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu, said Soludo through his article has committed what she described as “intellectual harakiri.”
The Minister noted that not only was the article littered with abusive and unbecoming language, it shows Soludo, whom she described as an “embittered loser in the Nigerian political space” can get so derailed by misquoting economic facts and maliciously turning statistics on their head to justify a hatchet job.”
“We cannot go by someone’s subjective view, driven by bitterness. We need to look to the truth and to professionalism. This is where Professor Soludo totally fails.”
She said Soludo was in desperate search for relevance in the country, after being left in the cold after his futile attempts to become governor of Anambra State.
According to her, “he claims in his article that he has had his own share of public service, yet he has failed twice in his attempts to be governor of Anambra State and Vice Presidential candidate of various parties.
“There is definitely an issue of character with Prof. Charles Soludo and his desperate search for power and relevance in Nigeria. Nigerians should, therefore, beware of so-called intellectuals without character and wisdom because this combination is fatal.
“So much of what is written is outright nonsense and self-seeking aggrandizement that need not be dignified with a response. It is totally remarkable that Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the man who presided over the worst mismanagement of Nigeria’s banking sector as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria between May 2004 and May 2009, can write about the mismanagement of the economy.
“Nigerians must be reminded of his antecedents as CBN Governor, and even prior to that, as the Chief Economic Adviser to the President. The consolidation of the banking sector was a good policy idea of the Obasanjo administration but Soludo went on to thoroughly mismanage its implementation leading to the worst financial crisis in Nigeria’s history. So what did Soludo do?”
The government alleged that as CBN governor, Soludo compromised the banking supervision mandate of the apex bank, leaving a questionable corporate governance practice in many banks where managers of the banks gave themselves and cronies huge amounts of money in loans without collateral.
“So, let it be noted for the record books that Soludo’s single-handed mismanagement of the banking sector led to an incredible accumulation of liabilities that will cost tax payers about N5.67 trillion (being the total face value of AMCON-issued bonds) to clean up.
“Let it be noted also that this amount, which is more than the entire Federal Government 2015 budget, constitutes the bulk of Nigeria’s ‘contingent liabilities’ mentioned in Soludo’s article.”