Controversies surrounding the recent appointment of Mrs Aishah Ahmad as one of the deputy governors of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by President Muhammedu Buhari to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Mrs Sarah Alade after spending 25 years at the apex bank, is refusing to abate. A lot of dusts were raised over the coincidence of her promotion to the post of an Executive Director, Retail Banking in Diamond bank just few hours to the announcement of her appointment as deputy governor of the CBN.
And just last week, a civil society group, Bureau of Social Justice Equity and Transparency at a press briefing in Abuja urged President Buhari to withdraw Ahmad’s nomination, because she was unqualified to serve as deputy governor of the CBN. Mary Ogwiji, an executive director of the group alleged that her appointment was a ploy by a cabal to destroy the progress made so far by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to reposition Nigeria.
Naij.com quoted her, “We are to state here that Aishah Ahmad does not meet the minimum requirement stipulated for such appointment hence her hurried promotion to the post of executive director at Diamond bank in a space of days upon the anticipation that she would be considered for further appointment as deputy governor of the central bank of Nigeria. “This sort of conspiracy against the positive economic trajectory of the nation smirks of mischief, callousness and retrogressive. This country under President Muhammadu Buhari administration cannot be left in the hands of internal saboteurs parading and masquerading as supporters of the president.”
However, Section 8 (1) of the CBN Act 2007 only states that the governor and deputy-governors of the apex “shall be persons of recognised financial experience.” And there were antecedents of deputy governor who were not executive director of banks before their appointments. And The Cable reported that her CV reads that she was appointed executive director in May 2017.
But the President seemed unperturbed about the furor that has greeted Ahmad’s appointment as he last Thursday forward a letter the Senate requesting it to confirm her appointment as deputy government of the apex bank.
In spite of the controversies that have enveloped her appointment, Ahmad has leafy curriculum vitae. The 40 year old banker has over 20 year experience in the financial industry, working in some of the top banks in the country. The new CBN deputy governor was formerly Head, Consumer Banking at Diamond Bank before she was elevated to the position of executive director, Retail Banking of the bank. She had earlier worked with NAL Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.
She is an alumnus of one of the foremost business schools in the world, Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom, where she earned a Master of Science (MSc) in Finance & Management. Ahmad also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in finance from the University of Lagos and Bachelor of Science (B.SC) degree in Accounting University of Abuja.
The former Diamond Bank executive director, who is the current chairperson of the executive council of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), a leading women-focused not-for-profit organization in sub-Saharan Africa, is a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analysts (CAIA) Associations.
Ahmad, who is the wife of retired Brigadier-General Abdallah Ahmad, was a member of the steering committee on Cherie Blair Foundation’s, Technology for Growth project, a groundbreaking learning intervention programme for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria. She had also served as an alternate director at Friesland Campina WAMCO from 2010 to 2014.
The main challenge before the pro tem CBN deputy governor, who will also be a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank, would be her ability to successfully step into the big shoes which her predecessor, Sarah Alade left behind. The immediate past deputy governor during her 25 years in CBN made significant impacts that Ahmad has to benchmark. However, her vast experience in the financial sector would work for her.