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CNB Succession: The Need To Look Inward

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In less than ten months the tenure of incumbent governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi would have come to an end and unless the trend Nigerians are used to the man at the helms of affairs at the apex bank has made it clear that he has no intention of a second term in office even though the law allows that.

It would be pointless to try persuading him to remain as this would amount to forcing the man to stay on even when he has made it clear that there are other things that he would rather train his attention upon other ventures of personal nature. This should thus be a cue for the nation to avoid the situation in the past where replacements for an office are hurriedly done at the last minute because adequate efforts are not made towards acting in advance.

The government might not have acted yet but agitations are already afoot on the possibility of factoring in zoning in selecting Sanusi's replacement in addition to technical competence. Proponents of such considerations that argued on the basis of how going this way would help maintain national balance and equitable distribution of positions in addition to righting historical injustices that could arise if the position, over the course of time, does not circulate around the competent persons that could be had nationwide.

It is on this note that I took peculiar interest in the argument put forward that the north central has not had a shot at piloting the affairs of the apex bank. The group that put this argument forward suggested that the zone has an array of intellectuals and professionals with the requisite competence to man this all important office.

However, similar to the need to act promptly at the national level to fill the soon to be vacant position, there is need to also at this stage put names and faces to the array of professionals that the north central geo-political zone has. After running through the possible list with a few friends I put my finger on Mr. Solomon Tor Wombo, who proven to be a pragmatic financial management guru with prowess and versatility in financial issues.

The tenure of Mallam Sanusi has proven that the position needs some measure of political savvies as much as it needs a profound understanding of economic and monetary fundamentals. For this, Wombo has successfully blended a background in the banking industry with his sterling performance in the political arena.

The quality of his work as far back as 1999, made the then Fortune International Bank to spot him as one of the outstanding experts to engage in their innovative drive to take over the market from other competitors, to achieve this, the bank engage the services of Hon. Solomon Tor Wombo through the Inter-Bank Transfer window where he functioned as the CBN Clearing House Officer and Interbank Settlement Relations amongst others. After considering Wombo's honest performance in this capacity, he was promoted to Operation Manager, Abuja and performed creditably well as Chief Custodian of Bank Volt and Regulator of Inter Bank Relations.

His banking career continued to prosper, as he joined Intercontinental Bank Plc, Yola in 2009 and became the Branch Head and later served as Area Business Executive, Makurdi Branch. In his new assignment, he had the responsibility for business development in the branches under the area office and received credit appraisals presented by the branch managers recommended within bank policy. Solomon Wombo was later moved to Jos as Regional Business Controller, where in addition was a member of the Regional EXCO.

Solomon Tor Wombo's recorded achievements in the corporate world but perhaps what stood him out are the traits of honesty, selflessness, innovativeness and simplicity that have continued to drive his exemplary leadership style. The reward for these was more responsibility as the Benue state governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswan (CON) located him at a critical time when local government funds were going into private pockets. His assignment as Special Adviser/Director General, Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Benue state was to reposition the third tier of Government in the state and ensure that the grassroots feel the impact of the centre irrespective of distance or topography. And he has not disappointed in this task.

On the academic front, Wombo attended the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, between 1984 and 1987 where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration while in 2002 he bagged a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Calabar. Aside his skills as a manager of human and material resources, Wombo authored “Responsibilities and Function of the Treasury Department”; “Team Building and Team Playing for Effective Performance” as well as “A Critical Review of Nigeria's Inter Bank Settlement System and Industry Analysis of Insurance Companies in Nigeria”.

It is however natural that people would want to see candidates who parade resumes with a lot of foreign postings for the CBN's number one job but this is one area that Nigerians and Nigeria must get it right. What the country needs at this time, especially with the success the Sanusi administration has recorded in reforming the banking sector, is to continue along the path of homegrown approach to dealing with the country's monetary issues.

We already have enough of those who have ties with Breton Woods so we would not be getting additional values for adding one more into the bargain. We should instead look to someone who is in touch with the realities at home and this where I put Solomon Tor Wombo's name atop the list of contenders.

I would like to commend the Coalition of Civil Society for Transparency in Governance for finding him worthy for the prestigeous Transparency Award 2013 and hope that the Prince of Benue will not dissappoint the Suswam's administration or the civil society for this golden previlege of writing his name on the sands of tiME.

Comrade Philip Agbese is a public affairs commentator based in Abuja.

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Articles by Philip Agbese