President Tinubu Names Olayemi Cardoso As Emefiele’s Replacement

  • fate of acting gov, deputies uncertain

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu on Friday appointed Dr Olayemi Cardoso as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, replacing Folashodun Shonubi who has headed the bank in acting capacity since the President suspended Godwin Emefiele.

The Special Adviser to the President, (Media & Publicity), Ajuri Ngelale, who disclosed this in a statement said the President also nominated four deputy governors to the apex bank.

The statement read, “This directive is in conformity with Section 8(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, which vests in the President the authority to appoint the governor and four deputy governors for the Central Bank of Nigeria, subject to confirmation by the Senate.

“Furthermore, President Bola Tinubu has approved the nomination of four new deputy governors of the CBN for a term of five years at the first instance, pending their confirmation by the Nigerian Senate, as listed below.”

He listed the deputy governors to consist of Mrs Emem Usoro; Mr Muhammad Dattijo; Mr Philip Ikeazor; and Dr Bala Bello.

He said in line with Tinubu’s agenda, the President expected the nominees to successfully implement critical reforms at the CBN, which would enhance the confidence of Nigerians and international partners in the restructuring of the economy towards sustainable growth and prosperity for all.

Tinubu on June 9 suspended Emefiele from office with immediate effect.

A statement from the Director of Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey, had said this was sequel to ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.

Emefiele was directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), Shonubi, pending the conclusion of the investigation and reforms.

Before this development, the remaining three deputy governors of the CBN were Mrs Aisha Ahmad (Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability Directorate); Mr Edward Adamu (Deputy Governor, Corporate Services Directorate); and  Dr. Kingsley Obiora (Deputy Governor, Economic Policy Directorate Serving).

As of the time of filing this report, their fate was not yet known.


Before the arrest of Emefiele, a Federal High Court in Abuja in December, 2022 stopped the Department of State Services from arresting him over allegations bothering on terrorism financing, fraudulent activities and economic crimes of national security dimension.

The DSS had filed a suit on December 7, 2022, seeking to arrest the CBN governor after which Justice J. T Tsoho gave the ruling, declining to grant the application for the governor’s arrest on December 9, 2022.

After his eventual arrest in June, a Federal High Court presided over by Justice Nicholas Oweibo in Lagos ruled that the charges pressed against him (Emefiele) were bailable.

Oweibo granted the embattled ex-governor, who had pleaded not guilty, a bail of N20m.

The judge also ordered that Emefiele be remanded in correctional centre, following his arraignment on two charges of illegal possession of firearms.

After his bail on July 25, 2023, Emefiele was re-arrested by the DSS after the court proceedings.

The fate of Emefiele, who until now is on suspension, is also unknown.

Similarly, a former deputy governor, Obiora, was arrested by the DSS for having connection with the ongoing investigation of financial mismanagement by his suspended boss.

Tinubu had on July 28 appointed a former Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Jim Obazee, as Special Investigator to probe the activities of the apex bank under Emefiele.

In August, the CBN released its financial accounts for the years 2016 to 2022 amid ongoing probe of the financial services sector regulator by the special investigator appointed by Tinubu.


Cardoso, a Lagosian, grew up in Lagos and attended Corona School Ikoyi and St. Gregory’s College all in Lagos for his primary and secondary education, respectively.

His father, Felix Cardoso, was the first indigenous Accountant-General of the Federation of Nigeria in 1963; and, the first indigenous vice chairman and Managing Director of Barclays Bank of Nigeria, shortly after joining the bank in 1972. Under his leadership, Barclays successfully transformed into Union Bank of Nigeria, a wholly-owned Nigerian entity

He completed his undergraduate studies upon obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Managerial and Administrative Studies from Aston University in 1980. He later continued his education at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in the United States, earning a Master’s in Public Administration in 2005 as a Mason Fellow. In recognition of his achievements in the private and public sectors, Cardoso was granted a Doctorate in Business Administration  (honoris causa) by Aston University in 2017. He is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers.

Cardoso is a Nigerian banker, chartered stockbroker and public policy expert. He had served for over four decades in the public, private and development sectors as a leader and innovator. Among his most impactful roles were commissioner in the Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget; chairman of the board of the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance and, most recently, chairman of Citibank Nigeria Ltd for 12 years, until his resignation in 2022.

Cardoso is married with five children and three grandchildren. His parents were descendants of Brazilian returnees and came from prominent families from Popo Aguda.

Analysts speak

Speaking on the development, a professor of capital market and Chairman, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Abuja Branch, Prof Uche Uwaleke, described Cardoso’s nomination as a welcome development.

He said, “Cardoso is eminently qualified. The CBN is too sensitive an institution to allow a chief executive function in an acting capacity for a long period. A substantive CBN governor sends the right signals to financial markets.”

Also, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, said the shake-up in the CBN did not come as a surprise.

He stated, “Indeed, President Tinubu hinted during his inaugural speech that the CBN needed a thorough house cleaning.  That is what is playing out now.

“Under the previous CBN leadership, there were serious issues around the transparency of foreign exchange management as well as the intervention funds of the CBN.

“The failure of the CBN to publish audited accounts for six years was also a major breach of corporate governance values and the CBN Act. Cardoso is eminently qualified for the position.  He has the academic, intellectual and industry credentials to head the apex bank.”