The governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has been dealt a thunderous uppercut blow by Aso Rock over alleged financial recklessness. Sanusi’s suspension arrived soon after his allegation that $20bn oil revenue had developed wings. It would appear that the blow thrown by President Goodluck Jonathan was calculated to send a message to Sanusi and any “alternate President” wannabe, that there is only one chargé d’affaires in Nigeria, and that person is Jonathan from Otuoke, Bayelsa state.
Before then Sanusi had made extremely serious allegations against the NNPC. He initially alleged that $49.8bn was unaccounted for by the NNPC. Sanusi later apologized and changed the figure to 12bn, and finally $20bn. While many Nigerians are querying Sanusi’s shifting figures, others put the blame on the NNPC and the finance ministry which have been dragged into the blame game by those who perceive them as having made things difficult for the CBN governor by not co-operating, thus the shifting figures.
The question very many Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora have been asking is whether Sanusi deliberately decided to engage the President in a ‘You push me, I push you’ or ‘cunny man die, cunny man bury am’ game. Both the President and the CBN governor appear to have been engrossed in a wily political chess game in which both were and are still trying to outsmart each other.
Now, the trouble with the punch from Aso Rock to Sanusi is that it was so ill timed that it immediately ricocheted back to sender. From facts and figures already in the public domain, it would appear that the genesis of the Machiavellian, artful, shrewd, cunning, wily and manipulative tripodal game between Aso Rock plutocracy, the NNPC kleptocracy and the CBN aristocracy was the query issued to Sanusi to justify his actions at the CBN. A look at the laundry list of Sanusi’s alleged sins leaves one with the impression that the CBN governor converted the CBN to a Vatican City state within the Italian state. He was the President and Commander in Chief of the CBN republic, embedded within the larger Nigerian geo-socio-political entity.
In a stunning twist of events, it would appear that by suspending the CBN governor, the President suddenly transformed him into Nigeria’s largest political superstar. Sanusi is from Nigeria’s northern half, where the majority of the people believe that the current President is a usurper of the turn of Northern Nigeria to produce the Nigeria’s President. Sanusi is a scion of the Kano royal aristocracy. Kano state is Nigeria’s most populous state. Sanusi is a Muslim cleric. Thus it would appear politically suicidal for President Jonathan to be seen as persecuting him for blowing the whistle on the Nigerian oil industry kleptocracy, especially on the eve of an election year.
Despite having released a long and earth quaking catalogue of Sanusis’s many sins, in a jejune and sophomoric effort by the government to present him in a negative light, the opposite has been the case. The government’s effort failed to gain traction or gather momentum. It would appear that the government chose a very wrong time to move against Sanusi. To many Nigerians, the government cuts the picture of a crowd of bumbling mediocres who broke the law to throw Sanusi out of office due to a desperate need to cover their butts.
In the court of public opinion, Sanusi’s alleged misdeeds would appear to have taken the backstage. One of the two main issues that have arrested the attention of Nigerians both at home and abroad is the indecent violation of the sanctity of the autonomous status of the CBN by the arbitrary removal of its governor. The other is the fear that Aso Rock’s bashing of the new masses’ superhero could be the beginning of a concerted effort to subdue and kill any serious investigation into the alleged missing $20bn. Thus, the more Sanusi is dragged around, the more politically solid and popular he becomes!
Sanusi cuts the image of a tough, no nonsense dude. He comes across as a reformer with tough iron cast principles who is easily ready to disagree with his boss if need be. The Mallam has successfully created and projected the image of a dude who would fight his boss in the course of the pursuit of his beliefs. In 2009, Sanusi engaged in major reforms in the Nigerian banking sector which led to many deeply established bourgeois in the banking sector crashing down to earth from their very high banking heavens; whereupon, in 2010, the Banker magazine named him Central Bank Governor of the year.
Many Nigerians both at home and abroad passionately believe that the decision to suspend Sanusi was misconceived, ill advised and a huge mistake by the Jonathan presidency. Sanusi had just about three months to stay in office before the end of his tenure. President Jonathan would have been well and better advised to allow Sanusi to complete his tenure and then made to answer any questions. Throwing a whistle blower out of office when the allegations he made against Nigeria’s very powerful oil industry Mafiosi are still sinking into the masses’ cerebrium, medulla oblongata and even their esophagus, has suddenly elevated Sanusi onto a larger platform. Today, he is about the most popular Nigerian both at home and abroad.
Riding on the crest of massive public support and goodwill, Sanusi has gone to court to seek redress. He has argued that he is not interested in returning to his office; however, he wants to settle once and for all time, via a judicial review, that the President of Nigeria cannot arbitrarily throw the governor of the autonomous CBN out of office. The Presidency has canvassed the perspective that the President has the authority and is empowered to suspend the CBN governor. In a Media Chat, the President said there was a lacuna (gap) in the law. He also appeared to have predicated his decision on the doctrine of necessity.
Anthony Okosun is reachable on TonyOsun@Yahoo.Co.Uk