By Adekoya Boladale
In a palace coup reminiscent of the ouster of Generals Yakubu Gowon and Muhammadu Buhari, erstwhile Governor of Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was unceremoniously suspended from the apex bank a few days ago. Mallam Sanusi, like the two former heads of State was out of the country when the adjudged ‘clueless’ but now ‘ruthless’ President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (JP) announced his suspension on allegations of fraud and financial recklessness.
There have been accusations and counter-accusations on the motive behind the suspension of the awaiting Emir of Kano but the general consensus of a sizeable number of local and international press is that of ‘witch-hunting’.
Few weeks ago the outspoken Mallam was reported to have uncovered a record-breaking, government-backed financial fraud alleged to be in the realm of about twenty billion United States dollars ($20,000,000,000). This amount was discovered to have developed wings ‘flying’ from NNPC’s office to CBN’s office. Though, NNPC claimed to have used the said billions as subsidy on Kerosene, the average Nigerian will not have this. The said subsidized product sells for N180-N200 per litre at local filling stations and at higher price in order designated areas and markets.
Let me state categorically that I am not a big fan of Mallam Sanusi, in fact I may never forgive him for the role he played in 2011-2012 Occupy Nigeria. He, like many more of his likes in government stood firm with Jonathan in short-changing the people of Nigeria. Like his Minister for Petroleum counterpart who doesn’t believe some Nigerians still make use of Kerosene Stove when the people in my village still arch their fanning embers to generate flame for cooking purposes, Sanusi was taken aback when we mentioned ‘I better pass, my neigbhour’ (the small power generating set) to him. It shows how disconnected people like him who are saddled with the responsibility of making policies that will impact on the lives of the common man are from the people. In spite of this, I still strongly feel Sanusi’s suspension was ill-conceived.
I have read the reports of the Financial Reporting Council on which Mr. President claim to be acting. As much as I find the report revealing, with the exposure of how the suspended CBN governor claimed to have spent a whopping 1.257billion naira on mere lunch, some unverifiable 38.233billion naira on printing bank notes, 2billion naira on distributing currency nationwide through airlines that unfortunately do not operate in Nigeria, facility management expenses put above 7billon naira among others, I feel Mr. President took the right step at the wrong time. While I acknowledge that these are substantial reasons to necessitate a suspension and even trial, I find it politically stupid and suicidal for the President to have sacked Sanusi at this point in time. Elementary politics would even deem counterproductive to sink a man perceived around the world to be championing a crusade against corruption especially at this level in a similar hole of corruption at a time he is receiving public encomium. There are no two definitions to how the world will view it other than witch-hunting. It shows that the army of Advisers around Mr. President are bunch of bootlickers who lack the needed intellectual capacity to advise the president accordingly, but even if they fail to do the needful or are bunch of yes-men, is it not believed that the president should be capable enough to take proper decision at such point in time?
All said and done, I do not believe the same Goodluck Jonathan who has ruled Nigeria for the past three years has the ‘balls’ to wholeheartedly sanction any member of his cabinet on allegation of financial misappropriation. Totally different from how the world view it, I do not think the decision to handcuff the apex bank chief was one taken after deep thoughts on some reports. It is my believe that Mallam Sanusi has inflicted upon himself far away from the NNPC revelation some enemies who may have been directly responsible for his suspension.
In my inquisitive state I ask, who is/are the unseen hand(s) that influenced the suspension of Mallam Sanusi?
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Connection
To say the relationship between Mallam Sanusi and Mrs Okonjo Iweala of the Ministry of Finance has been cordial will be an understament. Over the past few weeks, Sanusi has continued to openly criticize not just the economic policy of the Finance Minister but have severally accused her of aiding and abetting corruption and monumental fraud. Few days before the suspension of the Governor, ‘The Will’ reported that the former World Bank chief stormed the office of the president to tender her resignation letter over what she likened to ‘defiling’ of her office by the CBN governor with a scripted plot to drag her goodwill in the mud. The report said she was very angry and her body language was evidently clear that Mr. President only has one choice; either she leaves or Sanusi leaves. I think the choice made by the president on that day is crystal clear to all. But let us believe the self styled woman had nothing to do with Mallam’s suspension, is it possible some other individuals may have triggered it?
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
For a while, the international monetary fund have been on the neck of Mallam Sanusi to devalue the country’s currency as they believe it is being overpriced at the stock market. Sanusi was reported to have shunned the IMF chief stating confidently that the country will not bow to international pressure on domestic policies and not even one coming from the IMF. However, Nigerians who follow international financial scene and are very familiar with the IMF-influenced Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and how they choked the subsidy removal plan down the throat of African leaders will never underestimate the power and might of these guys. To say they cannot influence the removal of a public officer is an understatement.
Mallam Sanusi’s verbal diarrhoea manifested recently at the annual TEDX Talk in Abuja where he accused the General Overseer of the Redeemed Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye of aiding corruption and defending rogues like Erasmus Akingbola who was accused of siphoning depositors’ funds and influencing stock fraud. Sanusi claimed the pastor’s influence on the case saw to the sudden elevation of the judge handling the case to the Court of Appeal. Most Christians felt insulted by the accusation of Mallam and accused him of blasphemy and partiality as they claimed the Emir of Kano also solicited for a soft landing for the subsidy bribery syndicate, Farouk Lawan but Sanusi turned a blind eye on that. As God would have it, President Jonathan recently visited the G.O where various state issues were discussed. Though it is not clear if Sanusi’s issue came up for dialogue and may just be a coincidence or divine manifestation of the scripture …’touch not my anointed’. Nothing much has been said after that.The
The Bank Mafias
In the first few months of assuming office, Mallam Sanusi effected the biggest shakeup in the history of the Nigeria banking industry. The major players of the industry which were before then tagged ‘lions’ were dragged to court for allegations bordering on financial fraud, mismanagement and cooking up shares and stocks. This single act saw big names like Ibru, Akingbola, Atuche, Adigwe handcuffed and tried. Curiously, these set of individuals who have helped in cash and kind to effect the emergence of Governors and Presidents are being disgraced publicly. It is not impossible that these set of mafia decided to serve their tea of vengeance while cold.
If there is one person who can make the president declare a war on any country, look no further than the ever gorgeous and dazzling Ms Alison Madueke, the Petroleum Minister who have been nicknamed by many as the ‘oil demon’. Her influence in the seat of power arguably now tallies with the same influence which Madam Patience, the first lady has. Some reports have connected the possibility of a more than public affair between her and Mr. President. Unfortunately Mallam Sanusi doesn’t seems to be in her good book either. The suspended CBN Governor have severally had cause(s) to link the fraud at the NNPC to her. In fact in the now famous open letter to Mr. President, Sanusi brought her to the cleaner on evidence of linkages between her ministry and the missing billions. So was the decision to suspend Mallam taken after a nice time with Mr. President or during one of those midnight ‘wake-up, I want to talk to you’ calls, when the brain is more asleep than awake?
Beyond all these however, the issue of Sanusi’s sainthood and personal credibility should be less debated. I strongly feel what Nigerians; either black or light skinned, tall or short in height, slim or fat in size, straight or bisexual should be more concerned about is the whereabouts of the $20billion. Sanusi is gone and never coming back no matter what the court says. But will we all sit down, cross our legs and watch this revelation take the issue on the path of case closed?
If you ask me, I don’t really care who have influenced Sanusi’s removal, the price here is getting back the $20billion and putting the culprit(s) in jail. Sincerely, there is an urgent need to reawaken the January 2012 spirit again.
Adekoya Boladale wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter is @adekoyabee