by Yinka Odumakin
Sanusi has not visited the crash scene where eight of his staff lost their lives. All that mattered to him was the chieftaincy he was about to take.
Does the blue blood in Sanusi’s veins so royal it cannot be touched by the sorrows of others? How cold would these fellows be if they had to take actions that involve the lives of people behind closed doors if they can merry while the nation mourns?
I was one of those who opposed the appointment of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor when the late Umaru Yar’Adua nominated him for the exalted office in 2009.
My reasons for considering him unfit for the office was not because he lacked the knowledge and intellect for the office but rather because I found him impetuous and his thoughts on national issues showed a narrow man whose lenses do not see beyond the prism of his own agenda. His thoughts on other nationalities in Nigeria were either rude, condescending, and when at his best, patronizing.
Anyone who doubts the above should read most of his sabre-rattling views and commentaries before he became the CBN Governor. The number 1 banker for the country should not be a man with such strong political views which negate the liberal mindset that is required to handle the apex bank.
Sanusi eventually assumed the office of the CBN Governor and has since carried himself about with all the swagger of an aristocrat and in the process did a lot of incalculable damage to the economy through his whimsical actions, the results of which are already staring us in the face.
Dele Sobowale in his piece titled Another Banking Crisis Coming Up published in the Vanguard of May 7, 2012 rightly opined that:
“If anyone had asked Sanusi Lamido Sanusi three years ago his choice between becoming the Emir of Kano and the Governor of Central Bank; he would have chosen the former. But like Prince Charles of Britain, whose mother, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 1952, and is still going strong, Lamido too must wait indefinitely to pursue his ultimate ambition – which does not include being remembered as a great banker. Banking was just something to do while waiting [for “the throne”]. That was why, unlike his predecessor, he did not lobby much for the job; instead the job came looking for him. That might have explained his distractions and his aloofness bordering on arrogance.”
Taking a glimpse into Sanusi’s mishandling of the banking sector I quote Mr. Sobowale copiously:
“When Sanusi took over, he proceeded to dismantle the Soludo legacy. And although, there is no indication he intends to erect a monument, he will all the same. The crisis might occur before he goes to Kano for the coronation. It is brewing with a fury known only to beer Brewmasters.”
Sobowale goes on to unravel the scandals and crisis that has plagued the banking industry under Sanusi, including but not limited to, Sanusi’s questionable appointments of CEOs to manage the banks that CBN took over; questionable loan waivers granted to his sponsor former Governor Saraki amounting to N9 billion – N11 billion; and the current pension funds scandal which is yet still brewing and has the potential of throwing the banking industry into fresh crisis of untold measure, taking our economy along with it.
Our dear aristocrat has in words and actions confirmed the position of the columnist that he is just marking time at the CBN while waiting for the current Emir of Kano to transit so he can fulfill his long held ambition of becoming the next Emir of Kano.
At the peak of the fuel subsidy crisis early this year, another columnist, Tunde Fagbenle; in an exchange with Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had nicely cautioned him against his undisguised ambition of getting turbaned as Emir while there is a reigning one. The following exchange took place between Fagbenle and Sanusi as published in Fagbenle’s column of Sunday Punch of March 25,2012:
“I know you’ve set yourself the ‘supreme ambition’ of becoming the Emir of Kano (the stool of your grandfather), though I think it is impolitic to have declared such ambition so soon while the incumbent is still alive (well, by my Yoruba custom, that is!); but I would want to see a movement that can help in bringing someone like you, Oshiomhole, Fashola, and, even, Okonjo-Iweala to run Nigeria. What a great country that would be!”
“Thank you very much, Tunde. Starting from the lighter note, it was not so much a declaration of ambition. In our own part of the world, the emir takes it for granted that every prince wants to be an emir and in fact, it would be a sad day if a prince, when asked his ambition in life, ranked another office higher than the throne of his ancestors.”
It was in showing that his ambition of becoming an emir ranks higher than being CBN governor that he dipped his hands into CBN purse to donate N100m to the victims of Boko Haram in Kano when the apex bank had not made any such donation to the many victims of terror strikes before Kano.
It is from the same mindset that a CBN governor who ordinarily should not be heard except on monetary issues granted an interview where he said that the reason why Boko Haram is on rampage is the skewed “derivation” formula in the country!
The final moment for the total unravelling of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi came with his arrogant display of insensitivity and soulessness by going ahead with his being turbaned as Dan-Majen Kano at a period the burnt bones of 160 Nigerians who perished in the Dana crash are still being sorted in Lagos mortuary. Given the mood of the nation, a man who understands the responsibility of his office would have lost nothing by postponing the event for at least two weeks.
Aside from the general grief the nation is enmeshed in, 9 people who worked under Sanusi at the CBN were among the 153 passengers who died in the ghastly crash. The deceased persons are Amiaka Rapheal and Antonia Attu, both senior managers; Bamaiyi Adamu, a senior supervisor; Talmata Muhammed, an assistant director; Ibrahim Yusuf, principal manager; Kim Norris, special adviser to the CBN governor on Banking Supervision; Mutihir. I., deputy manager; and Samuel Mbong.
Sanusi has not visited the crash scene where eight of his staff lost their lives. All that mattered to him was the chieftaincy he was about to take. On Thursday night, I had argued with a friend – who was invited to Kano for the event, but eventually made up his mind not to go given the tragedy that occurred on Sunday – that the Sanusi I have studied would still go ahead with the ceremony. My friend was still optimistic that a last-minute cancellation would take place.
Sadly, I was proved right. Shame on heartless Sanusi! And his souless guests who have shown us that tragedy means nothing to them. Does the blue blood in Sanusi’s veins so royal it cannot be touched by the sorrows of others? Could that tragedy not have happened to any of us? Would the emir change his mind altogether if he had asked for a shift of date? How cold would these fellows be if they had to take actions that involve the lives of people behind closed doors if they can merry while the nation mourns?
To Sanusi I commend the words of John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi:
“Ambition, madam, is a great man’s madness”
May the souls of the CBN 8 (who most likely would have been in Kano to celebrate their ‘Oga’ had they not perished) forgive Sanusi Lamido Sanusi for this display of utter insensitivity?