Godwin Emefiele was born on August 4, 1961. He is a Nigerian politician, economist, and banker who served as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from 2014 to 2023. He was suspended by President Bola Tinubu in June 2023 for allegedly violating the Central Bank Act and engaging in partisan politics. He was arrested by the DSS in July 2023 and charged with money laundering.
Godwin Emefiele Biography
|Date of Birth
August 4, 1961
|Place of Birth
Lagos State, Nigeria
Ex-Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria
Early Life and Education
Godwin Emefiele was born on August 4, 1961, in Lagos State, Nigeria. He is a native of Agbor, Delta State, Nigeria. He attended Ansarudin Primary School and Maryland Comprehensive Secondary both in Lagos, before proceeding to the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) for his tertiary education. Godwin Emefiele obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance, finishing as one of the top students in his class, in 1984. Soon after his National Youth Service, he returned to UNN for a Masters Degree in Finance, which he obtained in 1986. He is also an alumnus of Executive Education at Stanford University, Harvard University (2004), and Wharton School of Business (2005). He was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration by the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).
Early in his career, Emefiele lectured finance and insurance at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and the University of Port Harcourt, respectively. He also had a short stint working for Vodafone. Before moving to the Central Bank, he gained over eighteen years of banking experience. He served as chief executive officer and group managing director of Zenith Bank Plc. He served as deputy managing director of Zenith Bank Plc. from 2001. Emefiele served as executive director in charge of corporate banking, treasury, financial control, and strategic planning of Zenith Bank Plc. Emefiele served on the management team from its inception. He served as a director at Zenith Bank Plc and Zenith Bank ( Gambia) Limited. He serves as director of ACCION Microfinance Bank Limited.
Governor of the Central Bank
Emefiele was the governor of the CBN from 4 June 2014 to 9 June 2023 when he was suspended by President Bola Tinubu. During his first term, he supervised an interventionist currency policy at the behest of the presidency, propping up the Nigerian Naira by pumping billions of dollars into the foreign exchange market. He also introduced a multiple exchange rate regime to try to mask pressure on the Naira and avoid a series of devaluations. He also oversaw the redesign of the currency, the naira, in an apparent attempt to prevent vote-buying during the 2023 presidential election.
Emefiele is married to Margaret Emefiele, a businesswoman and philanthropist. They have two children, a son and a daughter. Emefiele is a devout Christian and a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. He is also a lover of golf and chess.
Emefiele has been involved in several controversies during his tenure as the CBN governor. Some of them are:
- In 2016, he was accused of awarding contracts worth over N163 billion to companies linked to his friends and associates without due process. He denied the allegations and said he followed the CBN’s procurement guidelines.
- In 2019, he was caught on tape allegedly discussing how to cover up a N500 billion loss in the CBN’s balance sheet. He claimed the audio was doctored and that the loss was a result of a legitimate accounting error. He also said he had the backing of President Buhari to resolve the issue.
- In 2020, he was sued by a former deputy governor of the CBN, Kingsley Moghalu, for allegedly blocking his access to his pension and other entitlements. Moghalu claimed that Emefiele was victimizing him for challenging him in the 2019 presidential election. Emefiele denied the allegations and said he had no personal issues with Moghalu.
- In 2021, he was accused of diverting N1.2 trillion from the CBN’s coffers to fund the campaign of the ruling party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu. He was also alleged to have influenced the outcome of the election by manipulating the electoral commission and the security agencies. He dismissed the allegations as baseless and politically motivated.
- In 2023, he was suspended by President Tinubu for allegedly violating the Central Bank Act and engaging in partisan politics. He was also arrested by the DSS and charged with money laundering. He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail. He claimed he was being persecuted for his loyalty to the former president, Buhari, and his refusal to implement Tinubu’s economic policies.
Emefiele’s net worth is estimated to be around $300 million, according to Forbes. He is one of the richest bankers in Nigeria and Africa. He has several assets and investments in Nigeria and abroad, including real estate, stocks, bonds, and businesses. Godwin Emefiele also owns a private jet and several luxury cars.
Social Media Handles
Emefiele is not very active on social media. He has a Twitter account, @godwinemefiele, which he rarely uses. Godwin Emefiele also has a website, godwinemefiele.com, where he posts his speeches, publications, and achievements. He does not have any official Facebook or Instagram accounts.