By Femi Fani-Kayode
The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is not my favorite person and I have differences with him on many issues. I must however commend his immense courage for speaking out and exposing the monuemental corruption in the government that he once served and that has now decided that they no longer require his services.
Two weeks ago he claimed that 20 billion US dollars had gone missing from the coffers of the NNPC. Today he has been suspended and relieved of his duties for exposing the rot and speaking the truth. I have little doubt that the next thing that will happen is that he will be subjected to a formal probe and the EFCC will be called in to investigate his tenure of office. They will throw everything that they have got at him including the kitchen sink simply because he refused to play ball with them and cover up their penchant for monuemental corruption and graft.
Some of us have been there before and we know what it is like. If you speak truth to power and you take on the system be rest assured that the system will fight back and they will attempt to destroy you and all that is yours. Yet none of that matters because the only thing that is relevant is that history and posterity will be kind to Sanusi on this matter based on the choices that he has made.
He spoke out when others chose to remain silent and to compromise. Unlike others, he refused to sell his soul to the devil and to sell his heritage and birthright for a mess of pottage. Despite the significant differences that I have with this man in terms of our different outlooks to how and what Nigeria ought to be as a nation I salute him and commend him for his efforts.
I also make bold to say that with his noble stand he has assured himself of a great place in the next dispensation and he will play a key role in the future of this country one way or the other. May God guide and protect him in all his endeavours and may he continue to speak out with courage and strength and not allow himself to be intimidated or silenced.
Long is the road of righteousness and truth and it is often tarred with the spikes of persecution, misrepresentation and falsehood. Yet at the end of the day it is the only road that is worth taking and it is the only one that leads to lasting honour and glory. May that honour and glory find Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and may God reward him for putting the interests and welfare of the Nigerian people before that of the woeful and rotten administration that he once served.
This government has once again shown that it has no shame and that it is utterly bereft of any semblance of decency or morality. A man blows the whistle and exposes the fact that 20 billion USD has been stolen and instead of commending him and promoting him he is accused of wrongdoing, criminalised, vilified and suspended. It is only in Nigeria that this sort of thing can happen.
It has happened to me and many others before and now it is happening to Sanusi. I commend his courage and his ability to stand up and speak the truth to power. No matter what the government accuses him of now and no matter what trumped-up charges or baseless allegations they may come up with against him in order to justify their actions, the Nigerian people will always be grateful to him and indebted to him for exposing the rot and filth that constitutes the very foundation of the government that he once served.
The level of impunity and disdain that the Jonathan administration has for the people and for probity and accountability is second to none. The message that they are sending is clear- no whistleblower is safe in this country and in this government. Their intention is to destroy all those that have the courage to stand up to them and to intimidate us all into silence but they will fail woefully.
The more people they seek to destroy for no just cause and the more innocent men and women that they persecute for telling the truth and for exposing their monumental corruption and incompetence, the more they shall be resisted by people. What they have done to Sanusi is disgraceful and they ought to bury their heads in shame.
Pertinent and appropriate are Sanusi’s own words when, after he was informed about his unceremonious suspension, he responded all the way from Niger Republic by saying ‘’you can suspend an individual but you can’t suspend the truth’’. He immediately boarded the plane and headed for Nigeria knowing full well that the security agencies were waiting for him.
The plan was to arrest him on arrival in Abuja but he cleverly diverted his chartered flight to Lagos where close friends of his, including the former Minister of FCT Mallam Nasir El Rufai, a true and loyal friend and brother if ever I knew one, was waiting for him. He managed to avoid arrest but on arrival at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos the authorities stopped him briefly and took his passport from him.
By that single act they have served him notice of their sinister intentions. In the coming days, weeks, months and even possibly years they will seek to humiliate him, to denigrate him, to malign him and to destroy his entire future. That is their intention but I firmly believe that it is not the intention of God and consequently they will fail. Providing he continues to stand firm and strong and remains undaunted such an evil plan cannot work and will not work simply because, as the Holy Bible says, ‘’the counsel of the ungodly shall not stand’’. It also says ‘’to subvert a righteous man in his course is not allowed’’ and that ‘’many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord will deliver him of them all’’.
No matter how long it takes and no matter what they put him through, Sanusi’s innocence will speak for him before God and before the Nigerian people. It is from the fiery furnace of persecution, misrepresentation and victimisation that true heroes are born. There is a spirit that emboldens and that stirs the passion and the soul of true warriors once they are sufficiently provoked. That spirit is known as the spirit of truth and it cannot be intimidated or denied.
Femi Fani-Kayode is a former aviation minister