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Tony Elumelu Denies Speculation He’s Being Tipped as Next Central Bank Governor

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LAGOS, Nigeria — Tony Elumelu, the chairman of Heirs Holdings and founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, has publicly denied rumors that he is being considered as the next governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

This comes after Godwin Emefiele, the former CBN governor, was suspended and placed under DSS detention in June.

The speculation began when Imran Muhammad, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), posted on X on Friday, September 1, 2023, a social media platform, saying, “According to a source, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is also considering Tony O. Elumelu as CBN Governor.” Elumelu was quick to dispel the rumor, responding on his own X page with, “LOL. No, please. This is false news!.”

Although Elumelu has dismissed the claim, the speculation gained more traction as he was seen at the presidential villa earlier this week paying a courtesy visit to President Bola Tinubu.

During his visit, Elumelu praised some of the president’s recent economic decisions and expressed optimism about their long-term impact on Nigerians.

“The private sector is encouraged with the bold decisions President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has taken and we hope that in the fullness of time, Nigerians will benefit from it,” Elumelu told reporters after his meeting with the president.

He further highlighted the president’s focus on youth employment and women empowerment as critical areas where these decisions would likely have a significant impact.

Elumelu’s denial puts to rest, for now, the speculation around who will fill the crucial role at the Central Bank, especially at a time when the Nigerian economy is undergoing pivotal shifts, such as the removal of the petrol subsidy and the targeting of Nigerians’ funds held abroad to rejuvenate the economy.

The CBN is a significant player in these changes, making the governorship a role of enormous public and political interest.

Yet, even as he ruled out taking on the role of CBN Governor, Elumelu’s public commentary on the president’s economic policies suggests he will continue to be an influential voice in Nigeria’s evolving economic landscape.

His ongoing relationship with the current administration could play a crucial role as Nigeria navigates its current economic challenges and opportunities.

“Tony Elumelu is a significant figure in the private sector, and even if he’s not taking a formal role in the government, his perspectives carry weight,” said Dr. Amina Yusuf, an economic analyst.

“It will be interesting to see how his relationship with the current administration evolves, especially given the pivotal economic shifts underway in the country.”

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