By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria should be like Caesar’s wife, above all suspicions. Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is plastered with suspicions but it is wrong to suspend him now. It is politically not right. Suspending him might also be legally suspect. There are many reasons why it would have been very nice if Sanusi had loved his country enough to step aside on his own accord. But he is not a nice guy. He is also not patriotic. Here is information in the public domain: Sanusi had used the CBN funds to make donations to the victims of Boko Haram bombing in Kano. People sympathize with victims of all bombings in Nigeria. But is it the role of the Central Bank governor to solve humanitarian needs? There have been more bombings in Maiduguri and other parts of Nigeria some of them more devastating than the Kano bombing, but Sanusi and his CBN had not come to their aid. Sanusi is from Kano but his responsibility is national.
Sanusi had also used CBN funds as donation to Bayero University in Kano. Like the donation to the BH victims this is an abuse of office. It is using public funds for a private purpose. Central Banks sponsor research efforts in universities but usually they are for specific research that would help the economy in specific ways. Mr. Sanusi’s donation was to the university’s general funds. A university could use general funds for what ever suits its purposes. Funding for research is in accounting terminology “restricted funds.” It means that it could only be used for a particular purpose.
Sanusi has been in open rebellion with the Jonathan administration. A governor of the central bank ought to be a team player. He has not worked well with the president, with the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs and the Petroleum Minister. These three officers have the most impact on Nigeria’s economic health. Ability to work well with others is the most cherished qualification in a senior manager. A lone ranger attitude is OK is some areas but not in any team game. Hunters, researchers, inventors, innovators, etc would be a good calling for a lone ranger. But the fiscal policy (finance minister) and monetary policy (CBN governor) ought to be in sink. Sanusi did not work towards this goal
The last point, the fact that Sanusi has been in an open rebellion with Jonathan, is why it is wrong to suspend Sanusi now. The second reason is the fact that he has a mere four months to go. Jonathan ought to be able to wait him out. The President is like a football coach who is two touch downs (goals) ahead and five minutes to the end of the game. It is true that miracles happen (Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary Pass; or Tom Brady’s two touch downs in four minutes) but the general rule is to try to run out the time. This what Jonathan should have done.
Sanusi has the sympathy of some political leaders who would welcome anything that hurts Mr. Jonathan’s Administration under the doctrine of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. In escalating the feud with Mr. Sanusi, Mr. Jonathan plays into the hands of these political jobbers. When playing the card of missing funds and corruption Mr. Sanusi is painting a sad picture of the administration. He knows fully well that his position as CBN governor provides him with immense immunity from political interference. His goal now is trying to dirty the administration as much as possible and possibly extract a hero role from his efforts.
Jonathan even now has the stronger suite of cards. He could start impeachment procedures for Sanusi during which his misdeeds such as the few mentioned above, among others, could be brought out. A successful effort would result in dismissal without benefits and deny Sanusi his crave to be a hero. But the wider question is can Nigeria stand this? As for Sanusi, it is damn Nigeria.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba wrote in from Boston, Massachusetts, USA