IT would be a relief to many to know the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is not desirous of renewing his tenure. His penchant for making unguided statements could have torpedoed any economy but Nigeria’s. His numerous admirers consider him “brave”.
Sanusi is interested in the emirship of his native Kano. His title Dan Majen Kano is exclusive to the royal family members from the Kano Habe dynasty.
He loves publicity, which he drives through lectures and statements critical of other government departments, bearing little relevance to his immediate responsibilities. His approaches were unprecedented in the 55-year history of the headship of CBN. Sanusi has become notorious for speaking and thinking later.
The CBN governor wrote to the President accusing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, of not remitting $49.8 billion (about three times the nation’s annual budget) to the Federation Account. He did not investigate his claim.
NNPC was the first to accuse Sanusi of mischief. Its explanation was that a shortfall on sales was responsible for the figures it remitted. It advised Sanusi to contact all other agencies of government that collect oil revenue before arriving at his conclusion.
Trust Sanusi not to accept responsibility. He blamed CBN’s Reserve Department for misleading him. He has apologised privately to those his letter to the President indicted. However, he is holding up his head in public.
“Now in investigation and trying to understand where those leakages were, our attention was drawn to a huge difference between what appeared to be export of crude made by NNPC and amount repatriated into the crude equity account of the Federal Government,” Sanusi told a Senate committee investigating the “missing” $49.8 billion.
Is Sanusi no longer in charge of the Reserve Department of CBN? How could he have sent unverified statement to the President? Did he imagine the consequences of the President acting on false information?
He is not new to making statements that are incompatible with his office. In 2010, he told a gathering in Washington that all arrested bank directors would be jailed. He asked the media to quote him.
International awards like Emerging Markets Central Bank of the Year Award for Sub-Saharan Africa, for an unprecedented three times, do not reflect in the quality of services Nigerian banks provide. High cost of borrowing, different exorbitant charges are peculiar to Nigerian banks. TIME magazine also listed him among the 100 Most Influential People in 2011
Sanusi, 52, is extensively published, but unlike most central bank governors, his interests are mostly on ethnicity, religion and politics.
When he leaves by June 2014, his successor should approach central banking with the temperament it deserves.