Soludo’s Honest Mistake

Just last week a large number of Nigerians were praising the Central Bank Governor for his brilliance in regards to the redenomination of the Nigerian currency. At home and abroad, Nigerians were going gaga over Soludo’s policy statement. Even those who can’t differentiate between monetary and fiscal policy were jubilating. In the eyes of many, Mr. Chukwuma Soludo was a hero, a genius. Truth be told, I too praised him; but before one could finish reciting the Nigerian national anthem, the president of the federation, Mr. Yar’Adua, by way of his attorney general, dropped a brick on Soludo’s head.

There is even now a rumor to the effect that the boss of the Central Bank of Nigeria may lose his job. But why? The CBN boss need not lose his job over mere miscommunication with the president. Ok, may be it is more than “mere miscommunication” between the governor and his boss; but whatever it was — unless there was willful attempt on the part of Mr. Soludo to undermine the President, bring disrepute to the country, cause mischief or attempt to injure the nation’s national interest — there are no valid reasons to fire him or ask him to resign.

Some have wondered why the legal department within the CBN didn’t inform Soludo he needed to discuss the matter with the president and or the executive council before such a monumental policy statement. A dozen others have wondered a dozen different wonders and have in the process called his motives into question. Such queries are to be expected in view of the nascent cottage industry of conspiracy theorists in Nigeria. Overall, no one is saying this is much ado about nothing. No; only that Soludo’s pronouncement should be seen as what it truly was: an error of judgment in terms of the timing.

This was an honest mistake. Is a reprimand in order? Yes. Is an apology to the president and to the nation in order? Of course! A private apology to the president and the Cabinet, followed by a public apology to the nation should suffice. Nothing more! Nothing more because, as earlier deduced, no crime or mischief was intended.

The bigger picture shows that redenomination of the naira is a good economic policy — a policy that would have greatly benefited the nation and the state. Yes, one could argue that economic performance should be at a higher level before redenomination, but that is neither here nor there. What matters now is that those who are asking for the Governor’s head should rethink their call and reexamine their motives. No public official should be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning and governing process.

Therefore President Yar’Adua should not obey or yield to such silly calls. No! Not on this matter. We cannot and must not be a nation that does not tolerate honest mistakes. We must not be a nation that calls for people’s blood and guts if and when they commit mistakes. Such an approach would encourage public officials to engage in extrajudicial acts, including cover-ups. This just might be the time to put in place a more efficient communication and governing mechanism between the president and the men and women who work for him.

Granted the Central Bank of Nigeria enjoys some sort of independence (from Aso Rock), such a communication-disconnect shouldn’t have happened in the first place. But now that it has happened, government should lean from it and then move on. President Yar’Adua should move on and not look back to wringing Mr. Soludo’s head. That would be unjust.

Written by
Sabella Ogbobode Abidde
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2 comments
  • Should nobody award the governor of central Bank a vote of no support on the decision he made,He is not God that is perfect

  • I have not carefully read the article, but the first 3 paragraphs indicated that the writer supported the new policy. In my own view, it is only the enemies of Nigeria that will oppose this rescue policy. The numerous problems faced Nigeria today are connected to our naira devaluation. This policy will discourage corruptions, among others.