By Eric Elezuo
‘Seest thou a man diligent in his work, he shall dine with kings, and not with mean men’, and so it is with an administrator par excellence, whose footprints in the sands of time, have elevated to the height of the most preferred in our today’s society. He is Kingsley Moghalu, a former presidential candidate as well as a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria’s apex financial institution.
Born Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu in Lagos on May 7, 1963 to a diplomat father by virtue of his profession, Isaac Moghalu, and a school teacher mother, Vidah Moghalu, the young Moghalu spent his early childhood in Switzerland and Washington, DC, where his father was posted.
In April 1967, the family returned to Nigeria as his father transferred his service back to Nigeria’s Eastern Region in the midst of a political and humanitarian crisis. The family lived in their hometown, Nnewi, as well as Umuahia, while the Nigeria/Biafra War lasted in two and a half years.
Kingsley resumed his studies in the 1970s when the war ended, and received his secondary school education at Eziama High School, Aba, Government College Umuahia, and Federal Government College Enugu. He later attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and earned a Law degree in 1986, and the Barrister at Law from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos.
A man with a great quest for learning, Kingsley obtained a Master of Arts degree in 1992, at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA where he was the Joan Gillespie Fellow and a research assistant in the International Political Economy programme. He later obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science at the University of London. As Professor of International Business and Public Policy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy he has taught, trained and inspired graduate students from more than 40 countries in North America, Europe, Africa.
Kingsley also earned the International Certificate in Risk Management from the Institute of Risk Management in London, and received advanced executive education in Macroeconomics and Financial Sector Management, Corporate Governance, and Global Strategic Leadership at the International Monetary Fund Institute, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Business School, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a niche higher than a bookworm, a classical egghead.
Mr. Moghalu began real career pursuit when he joined the United Nations in 1992. His first recorded assignment was in Cambodia as a UN human rights and elections officer with the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia.
Having distinguished himself in the field, he was a year later, appointed the political affairs officer in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the UN Headquarters in New York. He is for all intent and purpose, a well travelled professional, and by all means an international man.
A global leader who has made contributions to the stability, progress and wealth of nations, societies and individuals across such domains as academia, economic policy, banking and finance, entrepreneurship, law, and diplomacy, he served in the former Yugoslavia as Political Advisor to the special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Croatia between 1996 and 1997. He was assigned as legal adviser to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, in 1997 and later promoted to the role of the international tribunal’s spokesman.
As special counsel and spokesman, he was responsible for policy development, strategic planning and external relations. The UNICTR delivered the first-ever judgement by an international court on genocide.
In 2002, finance expert was appointed to the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, as head of global partnerships and resource mobilization at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), a public-private international development finance organization and social investment fund with $20 billion in assets and investments in 140 developing and middle-income countries. He was a member of the Global Fund’s senior management group that set corporate strategy, a member of the risk management committee, and was promoted to the rank of director in 2006.
In 2006, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Moghalu as a member of the UN General Assembly-mandated Redesign Panel on the United Nations Internal Justice System. Working at the UN Headquarters in New York for six months in the first half of 2006, the Redesign Panel reviewed and made recommendations on how to improve the system of administration of justice at the United Nations.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva, Switzerland appointed Kingsley him, in 2017, as a member of its high level Independent Expert Group on Financing for Development. The Expert Group reviewed and made recommendations on how to better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and effective domestic resource mobilization for development in developing countries.
In December, 2008, Moghalu called it quits with the United Nations, and went ahead to establish Sogato Strategies S.A., a global strategy and risk consultancy, in Geneva.
While Moghalu was making international impact oversees, his activities were monitored back home as the then President, Umaru Yar’Adua, appointed him Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in November 2009 in recognition of his sterling services. He was saddled with the responsibility of managing Financial System Stability in addition to Operations, with supervisory responsibility for currency and branch operations, payment systems, and the management of Nigeria’s foreign reserves of $37 billion. Among his avalanche of achievements was leading the rollout of payment systems reforms including the development and introduction of the unique identifier Bank Verification Number (BVN).
It was also during his tenure that Islamic (non-interest) banking was introduced. He defended the decision explaining that it was one of several measures to expand financial inclusion and not Islamization agenda. He was a member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee that brought inflation down into single digits.
His large image has seen him serving as a member of the board of directors of Opportunities Industrialization Centers International in Philadelphia, a non-profit global entrepreneurship development organization founded by the late US civil rights leader, Reverend Leon Sullivan.
He was also a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the Committee of Governors (CoG), and the Board of Directors of the CBN, and also served as a member and representative of the CBN in the Economic Management Team of President Goodluck Jonathan. He served as the Chairman of the Boards of Directors of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and the Financial Institutions Training Centre, and as a member of the boards of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Kuala Lumpur-based Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI). He also represented the CBN as a member of the Board Executive Committee of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur.
He has been known to stand for truth and professionalism, and this at one time put him at loggerheads with his boss, Lamido Sanusi, who was the CBN governor. Sanusi had alleged a $20 billion fraud at the country’s publicly owned oil corporation. Moghalu disagreed with the manner in which his erstwhile superior handled the sensitive controversy. He expressed frustration that Sanusi had overstepped his role as the head of the central bank and crossed into political activism, but emphasized his support for Sanusi’s leadership in monetary policy. Sanusi was to praised his contributions later, and endorsed his presidential ambition, the same way the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, did during the 2019 Presidential election.
In October 2019, he resigned his membership of the Young Progressives Party, to focus in the immediate future on advocacy for electoral reform through the non-partisan citizens movement To Build a Nation (TBAN).
Moghalu has built men and institutions in his 58 years of existence. He is also the president of the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation (IGET), a public policy think tank, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Council on Emerging Market Enterprises at the Fletcher School at Tufts University and is the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Special Envoy on Post-COVID Development Finance for Africa. He is a member of the Advisory Council of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF).
An Officer of the Order of the Niger OON, Kingsley served as the Chairman of the Boards of Directors of the Nigerian-Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and the Financial Institutions Training Center. He was also a Member of the Boards of Directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, and the global Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI).
An international keynote speaker and writer of international repute, Moghalu has the following books to his credit; Build, Innovate and Grow: My Vision for Our Country; Emerging Africa: How the Global Economy’s ‘Last Frontier’ Can Prosper and Matter; Global Justice: The Politics of War Crimes Trials; and Rwanda’s Genocide: The Politics of Global Justice. He also has an essay in the book Bretton Woods: The Next 70 Years (2015).
In 2014 Moghalu delivered the Thomas Hodgkin Memorial Lecture at the University of Oxford.
Among other honours attached to his name is the degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) Honoris Causa by Anambra State University, and Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (FCIB). He is the recipient of the Rotary International Distinguished Service Award, and the “Against All Odds” Achievement Award of the African Women Economic Consortium.
In 2019, the Federation of West African Freelance Journalists Association named him “Nigerian Political Icon of the Year” in what the association called “the Nigerian Political Achievers Hall of Fame”.
A visionary thinker and philanthropist, Moghalu has founded the Isaac Moghalu Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides support for literacy, educational institutions, and access to education for underprivileged children in rural communities in Nigeria.
He is a traditional title of Ifekaego of Nnewi Kingdom, conferred on him by HRH Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III.
Moghalu is happily married to Maryanne Onyinyechi Moghalu since 1994, and they are blessed with four children.