BY JUMMAI CALEBS
THESE are heady days for the imperious traditional ruler of the Nigerian financial system, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who for all intents and purposes can best be described as the Emir, rather than governor, of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Kano-born prince, who has made it very clear that his only ambition in life is to become the Emir of Kano, has been conducting himself in the most unprincely manner ever seen in a CBN governor. And being the kind of person he is, he will forever brag about how he took on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, rubbished him in public while supposedly serving as part of his government, and nothing happened!
How did things come to this sorry pass? As every Nigerian with access to any media knows, Sanusi wrote a letter to the President insinuating theft of $49.8bn from the sale of the nation’s crude oil. A while later ‘His Royal Highness’ admitted before the nation that he had made a mistake in his letter. Thereafter, the CBN governor who likes and wants to be more European that citizens of Europe, failed to do what a typical public office holder in Europe would do when confronted with such a grave failing at his duty post -resign from office.
The overly gentle President Goodluck Jonathan—and every Nigerian knows that being too gentle is one of the President’s faults—reportedly asked the CBN governor to turn in his resignation letter and perhaps proceed to wait in Kano to achieve his life’s ambition. It was then that ‘His Royal Highness’ began quoting the Constitution (the same Constitution he has repeatedly violated by refusing to present CBN’s budget before the National Assembly), and talking of two-thirds of the Senate, and a spurious claim of threat to his life. He even sent his media people to, in effect, gloat before Nigerians that, indeed, he is the ‘Emir’ of CBN and cannot be removed from office.
As his ‘powerless’ subjects, Nigerians that is can only be grateful that this CBN governor does not have the same advantages of the Emir of Kano, whose throne he so sorely covets. Unlike the very dignified Emir of Kano, this Emir of CBN has a five-year tenure that will soon come to an end. ‘His Royal Highness’ has been telling whoever cares to listen that he does not want a second term at the helm of the CBN. The more important question is: Will any Nigerian, in his right senses, support a second term of office for this divisive, unrestrained, and attention-seeking governor of CBN?
As a former director in the Presidency, Mr. Eric Teniola, wrote in a recent public article, the person Nigeria needs as CBN governor should be “a cool-headed banker and an Economist who will not convert the office to a television studio.” This, undoubtedly, was a subtle but very clear barb at ‘His Royal Highness’, the outgoing governor who indeed turned the office to a sitcom drama and brought the high office into disrepute during his tenure.
Besides the many allegations of immoral and gross misconduct levelled against the outgoing governor of the CBN, ‘His Royal Highness’ is on record as the most profligate CBN head the country has ever had. Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (then representing Lagos State under the ACN), once described the CBN under Sanusi as “spendthrift” and “bleeding the economy of the country.”
Hon. Gbajabiamila did not make this comment without basis. As his House of Representatives colleague, Hon. Goni Bukar Lawan (PDP/Yobe) said, “The moment I heard that the CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, donated N100million to victims of Boko Haram attacks in Kano State, I quickly rushed to my constitution to see if Yobe State was no longer part of Nigeria. The bombings happened in Yobe, before Kano State. So, are we not part of Nigeria?”
Yet, in this divisive, insensitive, and indecorous manner, the outgoing Emir of CBN, hid under the corporate social responsibility of the institution, went around making more unprecedented donations as if the Central Bank of Nigeria had become a relief agency.
In addition, Hon. Gbajabiamila quoted section 42 of the 1999 Constitution and other relevant statutes in decrying Sanusi’s refusal to present CBN’s budget to the National Assembly for approval. Hon. Gbajabiamila said, “Even the Federal Government brings its budget for us to approve; so if Sanusi says he does not need to do that according to Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution, then he thinks the CBN is above the Federal Government.”
It is indeed amusing that the outgoing governor can today rely on the Constitution he does not respect to retain him for a few more months in an office he has told the world he no longer wants. One would have thought ‘His Royal Highness’ would have since left for Kano bag and baggage, in order to plot his emergence as the next Emir of Kano.
*Ms. Calabs, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Yobe State.