‘Explain things properly,’ Laolu Akande tells FG, backs relocation of CBN depts to Lagos

Laolu Akande

By Oluwafemi Popoola

Former presidential aide and seasoned journalist, Laolu Akande has charged the Federal Government to properly explain things as a result of the raging controversy from certain northern elements that followed the relocation of some departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from Abuja to Lagos,

Though sounding in support of the moves, saying “It makes sense ordinarily,” Akande emphasized the importance of effective communication by the Federal Government to better inform Nigerians about its policies.

On 12 January, the CBN through a circular by the director of its human resources department, had conveyed its plans to decongest its head office in Abuja.

The departments pencilled down for relocation by the CBN governor, Dr Yemi Cardoso are: Banking Supervision; Other Financial Institutions Supervision; Consumer Protection Department; Payment System Management Department and Financial Policy Regulations Department.

Following the directive, there have been widespread reactions from many Nigerians. While some welcome the idea, others are criticizing the move saying it is politically motivated.

Speaking on Channels TV’s news documentary programme, Sunrise Daily, on Thursday, January 25, 2024, Akande called for transparent and clear communication as key to ensuring government policies are well understood by the public, advising government officials to work on improving communication with the Nigerian people.

“It is always important for the government to come out and explain things properly and say look, these fears are not necessary. This is what we are trying to do and this is the reason we are trying to do it.”, Akande stated.

He added, “I honestly think that they are just playing games because those two movements clearly make sense. It makes sense ordinarily. When something makes sense ordinarily and people try to give it a spin, that is where you need to be careful what is going on and I think again regrettably it is the ethnic dimension that is given to everything.”

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“Those two things very simple matter and it shouldn’t have caused any kind of worrying. There are more important things for the senators to worry about”, Akande responded

Commending the efforts of the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, Akande said, “I must commend Mr Onanuga’s statement that came out yesterday to explain that look because people are already saying that they are taking FCT to Lagos. He made a fairly well-reasoned statement to say that there is no such thing as that.”

“He explained, for instance, that FAAN was in Lagos. It makes sense for FAAN to be in Lagos, excuse me, come on! Lagos is up by far ahead of Abuja. Abuja is next. He explained that we shouldn’t worry ourselves that the capital of Nigeria is Abuja by law and the president can’t change that. Mr Ononuga explained that.” Akande noted.

Furthermore, Akande highlighted the potential benefits of relocating CBN departments to Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub. He argued that this move would not only enhance efficiency and accessibility but also foster closer collaboration between the CBN and other financial institutions based in Lagos.

He said, “90 per cent of the banks have their headquarters in Lagos. Where else can you better supervise them than in Lagos.” Akande asked rhetorically.”

Continuing, “So I think it is right for the Central Bank to put this information out. It is also right for the people that are in government, the presidency, the executive arm of govt and the National Assembly where these fears are being expressed to talk to themselves. I don’t think there is any reason to worry at all. Absolutely no.

“I think there is a lot of unaddressed challenges in terms of how even a party operates,” Akande concluded.