In most countries, the position of central bank governor is one of a conservative low-key economist who only makes public utterances a few times a year around monetary policy.
Nigeria is not most countries.
While current Central Bank of Nigeria governor Godwin Emefiele, appointed last June, fits the more traditional image, the last two Central Bank governors of Africa’s largest economy have been conservative in economic strategy—but larger than life when it comes to expressing their opinions about the way the country is run.
In the run-up to presidential elections on Feb. 14, there is an almighty war of words in local media between Nigeria’s finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Charles Soludo, the central bank governor between 2004 and 2009. Soludo fired the first salvo with release of a local newspaper article on Jan.25 on the economy’s mismanagement under president Goodluck Jonathan. It’s a timely reminder of one of the main issues of this election cycle which has descended into name calling and smear campaigns.