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Sanusi: The end of an era (II)

Presidential aides and other mercenaries are going in and out of CBN to lend their support to how Sanusi could be exposed and silenced. Some…

Presidential aides and other mercenaries are going in and out of CBN to lend their support to how Sanusi could be exposed and silenced. Some faceless agents by the name Fresh Focus are even spending money (God knows where they got it from) on advertorials in newspapers aiming to disparage Sanusi and ridicule the National Assembly. Their advertorials are signed by someone calling himself Badamfare Ayaba (In Hausa, the first name means conman and the second, banana), much like the Renaissance Professionals who Sanusi had encountered at the beginning of his tenure. So, what are these con men up to, turn the victim into a villain?
Undoubtedly, Sanusi knew what he was up against; raising the red flag against missing dollars of oil revenues is a direct challenge to Diezani and Jonathan. No wonder his traducers are desperate to nail him. The Financial Reporting Council report indicted Sanusi and the entire CBN management. But as events have shown, the removal of Sanusi has been economically harmful. Last week, Reuters reported that foreign buyers remained on the sidelines and demand was dominated by less risk-averse local investors drawn by the attractive yields. Foreign participation was “very marginal,” said one analyst. “It’s probably that as those bills mature some international investors won’t roll over the position in the new auctions, so they’ll just take their forex and leave,” he added, asking not to be named. Naira is in a free fall, the reserves have fallen and the economy will wobble.
Those who said Sanusi was going to seize banks owned by Southerners and hand them to Northerners have turned out to be plain liars. Contrariwise, Sanusi took the banks from those who stole depositors blind and handed them to those who would really grow them. Sanusi has left a robust banking system that earned the confidence of the citizens. By rescuing those sick banks, Sanusi’s CBN was able to save N4.4 trillion in deposits belonging to about 10 million customers. Thanks to Sanusi, we now know that “banks do not fail, they are killed.”
Sanusi got CBN to intervene in agriculture, aviation, education and power supply. Sanusi improved corporate governance by insisting that the MD of any bank could serve a maximum of 10 years only. Sanusi got banks to share services so as to cut costs. An outspoken advocate of lower government spending, he helped the country post one of its highest foreign reserves. He introduced the cashless policy and pushed for financial literacy and inclusion. Sanusi’s CBN floated a N200b facility for small and medium entrepreneurs and established the Entrepreneurship Development Centres to help impart entrepreneurial skills to young Nigerians. He also sought to empower women by instituting liberal borrowing terms for their businesses. Sanusi brought inflation down to a single digit and ensured a stable exchange rate for the Naira. I am sure that in the fullness of time, when the political atmosphere normalises, Sanusi himself will put in proper perspective what his CBN tour of duty meant for this country.
If Sanusi were a Soviet citizen, he probably would have been a communist ideologue; if he were an Iranian, he would perhaps have been a Shi’ite mullah and were he an American, he surely would have been one of the Hollywood movie stars. The surprise is that Sanusi, a Nigerian, is speaking trenchantly against corruption.  Corruption is a big deal here and Nigeria has, apparently, become one long, endless line of corrupt human beings, each waiting to take his turn to steal from the treasury; though occasionally people jump the line to take theirs ahead of others, but anyone that wants to permanently disrupt the queue puts his life on the line.
In the opinion of one Nigerian: “Even if SLS were guilty of all the charges and more, GEJ should have gone to the Senate to remove him. That is the law and no amount of spin can change that. The intent of the CBN Act is clear. Does GEJ’s behaviour support the intent, or detract from it? If GEJ has all this very nice evidence of the evildoing of SLS, why is he afraid of taking it to the Senate and getting 2/3 to ratify it? Or does he think the Senate (out of which PDP already controls more than 50% will see a ‘Boko-Haram’ CBN governor and refuse to remove him? In any case, what is the indecent rush at huge risk to the national economy when the man has 3 months to leave..? … It is not a coincidence that the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency has also “retired” without fanfare.”
Certainly, history will be kind to this internationally-recognised CBN Governor and no amount of muckraking will dim his star. While Sanusi makes history, his opponents are making hysteria. Sanusi is an excellent man; he broke tradition but his adversaries broke the law. We must follow Sanusi’s lead and insist that the missing $20b is found and remitted to the treasury. Sanusi is not down or out; neither will he back down. Asked about his low moment following his removal, Sanusi retorted: “I was on a permanent high and I still don’t have a low moment”.

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