Temple Chima UbochiSunday, February 23, 2014
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Bonn, Germany




Continued from Part 14

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy (Ernest Benn)

Today’s necessitous men and women – the prematurely retired – could be the spark that triggers that such a revolution in (American) politics (President Franklin Roosevelt)

Necessitous men are not, truly speaking, free men, but, to answer a present exigency, will submit to any terms that the crafty may impose upon them. But they will not submit to those unconscionable terms forever (Lord Robert Henley)

resident Jonathan just suspended (removed) the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) due to “financial recklessness”. For this writer, Sanusi didn’t “sin” more than any other current government official; only that the exigencies of politics have consumed him. Sanusi was too vocal for this government’s liking, so he was sacrificed in order to put a full stop to the piles of embarrassment he has been causing the government. On the other hand, it seems that some people demanded the sacking of Sanusi as the only condition to support President Jonathan’s re-election bid; so, in order to guarantee that constituency, the President caved in to their request. This writer would have loved Sanusi to continue as the CBN governor; he did nothing wrong, and, he’s the kind of person Nigeria needs to move forward, but, “he may have overplayed his hands”. He was the first person who told Nigerians that 75 percent of the yearly budget was expended on recurrent expenditure, and out of that figure, that the national assembly takes 25 percent as the annual pay and allowances of its members. It was Sanusi who made allegations of missing funds or funds unremitted into the federation account: Sanusi exposed the corruption going on at the petroleum ministry, and how NNPC hasn’t remitted billions of dollars, it made from the sale of oil and gas, into the Federation Account. Sanusi, as a prominent northern prince, was too arrogant and pompous that he disobeyed the orders of the president on few occasions and got away with it (he disrespected the president many times, thinking that he was untouchable because he’s a Kano noble prince). The President decided to “toss out” Sanusi, because, as 2015 approaches, he would need to reinforce his campaign war chest for the presidential election, and that money will only come from the sale of oil, so the president doesn’t want to have an official he would not carry along with, the president doesn’t need an official who will be willing to spill the beans against him.

Sanusi while challenging his sack, said he might seek some form of legal intervention over his suspension (that may be an exercise in futility (medicine after death)). Reacting to the allegations of financial recklessness, Mr Sanusi questioned the reasons given for the action and said the presidency did not follow due process. According to the Citizen, Sanusi wondered what kind of standards were used to make the allegations levelled against him saying that “just a little over a week ago, the petroleum minister and the GMD of NNPC, sat in front of the Senate on national television, actually said they have paid billions of dollars on subsidy of kerosene without appropriation”. This, Sanusi said was happening in spite of a presidential directive to stop the payment since 2009, wondering why “no one has called this financial recklessness”. Sanusi went on to say that “the NNPC itself has not been audited since 2005” alleging that “they are now rushing to get all those back audits. On the findings of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Mr Sanusi asked “if there is any problem in investing in education; building structures in universities; building structures in secondary schools?” or “is there evidence that these contracts were inflated or we awarded the contract to ourselves?”, wondering “what exactly is reckless about contributing to education?”

To conclude: Sanusi did nothing wrong; if the President is serious about sacking all the officials who have been financially reckless, then, none of his ministers would stand. Especially, the petroleum minister and NNPC top officials should have been shown the door long time ago. What the President wants is a person who would cover his back as he commits the peoples’ money into his re-election campaign, and Sanusi is not that kind of person, so he must go.

This writer congratulates the new CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, and wishes him every success in office. As a banker par excellence, having excelled at Zenith Bank, where he rose, to the pinnacle, to become the MD/CEO of the bank, so will he excel at CBN! As a fellow lion (UNN alumnus), there’s no doubt that Mr. Emefiele would not fail Nigeria. Our fellow alumnus, Charles Soludo, made his mark when he was the CBN governor, so this writer knows that Mr. Emefiele would surpass Soludo, in achievements, here. Our alma mater, of our days (1980s), imbued us with qualities which were second to none those days. Unfortunately the institution is today a shadow of itself. It’s so saddening that our beloved UNN has lost its aura and excellence.

This column wishes Sanusi the very best in his future endeavours: He’s a rich man, a noble prince, well educated and an ex-MD of First Bank, so there’s nothing he would lack, he would be alright. More to that; his political future looks bright as the opposition parties may court him now, as he knows some of this government’s shortcomings, and may be an invaluable asset to the oppositions in their bid to dethrone the president in 2015. Who knows!