The Deputy Governor, Operations, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Tunde Lemo, on Thursday said his exit from office would not affect his chances of possibly succeeding Governor Lamido Sanusi.
Lemo, 54, who will leave the CBN on Friday (today) after serving the maximum of two terms of five years each, said in a telephone interview from Abuja, according to a Bloomberg report.
Sanusi, 52, said last year that he would not renew his contract when it expires in June.
While President Goodluck Jonathan has not given any indication of who will be the next governor, Lagos-based Vetiva Capital Management Limited said in an October report that potential candidates included Lemo and Sanusi’s three other deputies.
Lemo said his departure “doesn’t affect that speculation,” citing a previous case where a retired deputy governor became the central bank governor.
“But one doesn’t want to second-guess authorities,” he said.
Although a statement from the CBN indicated that Lemo’s retirement was with effect from January 11, 2014, the deputy governor is expected to be pulled out of service on Friday, being the last working day before his retirement date.
Prior to his appointment as a deputy governor in the CBN in 2003, Lemo was the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank Nigeria Plc between 2000 and 2003.
Born in 1959, Lemo attended Lisabi Grammar School, Ogun State and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he emerged as the best graduating student in the Faculty of Social Sciences with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy (First Class Division) in 1984.
Lemo is also reported to have attended an advanced management programme at the Wharton College, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States in 2002 as well as executive training programmes in world-class institutions including Harvard University; Fontainbleau, France and Brandies University, Boston.
The retiring deputy governor is credited for playing a key role in the implementation of the banking sector consolidation resulting in the 24 stronger and well-capitalised banks with combined equity of over N1.6tn from 89 largely weak banks; formulation and implementation of the Microfinance Policy and Supervisory Framework both under the supervision of the governor.
He also championed the restructuring of Abuja Security and Commodities Exchange and Nigeria Export Import Bank, as the chairman of both institutions.
As the Vice-Chairman, Technical Committee for the establishment of Africa Finance Corporation, Lemo participated actively in the establishment of the pan-African investment institution.
He was also responsible for the transformation of the National Payments System for widespread use of electronic payments and the transformation of the Nigeria Inter-Bank and Settlement Systems Plc.
He introduced the Microfinance Policy and Supervisory Framework and the emergence of over 800 microfinance banks.
Holder of the national award of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic, Lemo was deputy to three successive governors of the CBN – Dr. Joseph Sanusi, Prof. Charles Soludo and Mr. Lamido Sanusi.