Since yesterday’s booting of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi by President Goodluck Jonathan, there has been a plague of attacks on Mr. President for making the move.
Needless to say that most of the slants taken by commentators on the matter draw oomph from sentiments, emotions, and perhaps, the hate mentality which often shapes the average Nigerian’s perception of government decisions like this one.
Expectedly, Sanusi has earned enormous public sympathy following his suspension.
This is not necessarily because his sympathizers agree any less with the fact that the erstwhile CBN boss deserves to be shown the door after having run amok with the CBN powers conferred on him for about five years now.
His more open-minded friends would at least concur with those of us who think the man, like none other in the Jonathan administration, had made himself a tin god, one which no one, including his Commander-in-Chief and employer, could ever touch.
I feel concerned that the wave of public condemnations trailing President Jonathan’s action appear to be largely shaped by outright ignorance of both the statutory powers of the President as enshrined in the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 and the fact of Sanusi’s knottiness.
I doubt that most of the people who have joined to disparage the President for the sack of the self-elect Emir of Kano have actually taken the pains to find out the circumstances surrounding the sack and what the law says in this regard.
Too bad that most Nigerians appear to be in detestation of the time honoured rule of thinking and asking questions before passing judgment.
It is therefore very little wonder that mob justice is a common feature in our national life.
This explains why our lawmakers settle disagreements with their fists, those who feel deprived of their resources resort to vandalizing means of earning those resources, and those who crave for political powers resort to insane killing and maiming of innocent women and children as is seen in the North East of Nigeria today.
We don’t ask questions before guillotining a man.
We simply condemn him, kill him, and bury him as our emotions, collective sentiments, and sense of skewed judgment lead at the time.
First, the President has made it clear that his decision was based on one of the strongest professional recommendations given him by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.
The President had earlier issued a query to Sanusi sometime in 2013 on his alleged financial impropriety.
Remember that there had been serious public outcry against Sanusi’s spurious donations of our money to various organizations as he deemed fit.
Concerned Nigerians called on the President to check what was becoming an embarrassment to the nation and an outright invasion and rubbishing of the country’s apex bank’s sanctity by a man who was fast deviating from his constitutional calling.
Sanusi responded to the President weeks later.
In order to obtain professional advice on what steps were proper to take (Mr. President is not a financial expert, if I must remind us here), the President forwarded Sanusi’s response to him to the Financial Reporting Council same month.
One of the council’s recommendations to Jonathan was Sanusi’s sack.
The council’s take was predicated on their finding the man guilty of unrestrained financial recklessness.
Note that the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria is a unified INDEPENDENT regulatory body for accounting, auditing, actuarial, valuation, and corporate governance.
The body adopts International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in monitoring compliance with necessary legislation and professionalism in the country’s financial sector.
Need I say that as far as Sanusi was concerned, compliance with CBN laws and adherence to professional and ethical financial standards were a fool’s engagement?
You know that story too well, don’t you? It would be recalled that the overly gentleman Jonathan didn’t immediately implement the recommendations by the financial council, as beseeching as they were to save Nigeria from the thin but cruel hands of Sanusi.
Rather than outright kick the man out as the council had recommended, Jonathan sought to give Sanusi a save landing.
He asked Sanusi to simply take a leave. Such leaves are not alien to the CBN. As a matter of fact, it is often required three months to the expiration of the CBN Governor’s tenure.
Within the corporate world, this is often considered an honourable thing to do.
You remember the story of how a telephone conversation between the President and Sanusi on the need for him to take a leave became a heated one, at the end of which the Emir of CBN told Jonathan he was going nowhere.
What guts! And to think that Sanusi had been exhibiting this imperiousness before the president and getting away with it is another reason why this sack is altogether a necessity.
There is no established statute in the country which gives the CBN any autonomy.
Sanusi’s assumed autonomy of the CBN is one illegality that was taken too far and that needs to be urgently corrected before we graft one more impropriety to our national life.
What do we make of the brazen refusal by Sanusi to tender the budget of the CBN to the National Assembly as required by the law?
If Sanusi could run the CBN like his personal estate for 5 years unchallenged, tell me why the next CBN Governor would not follow this negative precedence.
People talk of the likes of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as being the untouchables.
Sanusi was more than untouchable. He was a god, and he never missed an opportunity to remind those who cared to know!
Secondly, a harvest of regrettable ignorance seems to be sitting pretty in the heads of those who have disagreed with Jonathan on the sack.
This is particularly on the legal plank. They say Jonathan has gone contrary to Section 11, sub-section 2 (f) of the CBN Act.
To them, the President is under compulsion to seek a two-third majority backing of the Senate in order to sack the CBN Governor.
How so unfortunate that those who bicker in this direction have failed to take into consideration sub-section 2(c) of the same section 11 of that Act.
This section gives the President the express power to remove a CBN Governor who “is guilty of serious misconduct in relation to his duties under this Act.”
What more misconduct could be greater than taking the unanimous decision, without getting the approval of the CBN board or the consent of the President, to donate and award dubious contracts amounting to more than one billion US dollars in a single fiscal year?!
In a TELL magazine report of September 30, 2013, Sanusi was reported to have donated, in very questionable circumstances, a total of 15billion Naira to only four educational institutions in the country.
What is annoying is not the cash donations to the schools if these were done in good faith.
It is the fact that no overseeing body or committee was put in place to monitor how these funds were expended by the schools.
Truth is, one cannot rule out the possibility that Sanusi may well have been on a stealing spree, amassing personal wealth in the name of carrying out some CBN corporate social responsibility.
Without a single justification, the cocky Prince of Kano had in 2012 doled out 10billion Naira for “infrastructure development” in Usman Danfodio University.
The same year, he donated another 4billion Naira to Bayero University in his home state of Kano for what he called manpower development.
Like all others, these largesse were at no point approved by neither the President nor the CBN Board who have the power to do so.
Until this day, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has not told Nigerians what the CBN budgets for corporate social responsibility or how he comes about the huge funds he carelessly gives to individuals and institutions in the name of CSR.
Misconduct is when you embark on Father Christmas expeditions like Sanusi without a presidential approval as clearly demanded by the CBN Act 2007, section 8 sub-section 5(a).
Let me add very quickly that Nigerians are being too kind to even demand the instrumentality of the law in the Sanusi sack.
Sanusi, by every consideration, was a man with an uncommon allergy for legal procedures.
Is it not ironical that we could be looking for every available bit of the law to save a man who adopted anything but the law to guide his actions while he held sway?
Let us face the fact. It is good question to ask why Jonathan is choosing to sack Sanusi at the period when the man claims there are concerted efforts by some NNPC people to siphon a fortune of our oil revenue by not remitting to our purse some percentage of what is accrued to the nation.
To what end was President Jonathan dragging feet on the financial council’s sack recommendation until this time?
Why was the President even negotiating the sack terms with a Sanusi we know too well to be unclean, irritant to our economy, and a big mole in the Jonathan kitchen?
Presidential public affairs man, Doyin Okupe, wants us to see the raging issue of some missing petrodollar and the sack of Sanusi as a coincidence.
As germane as this may be, there is this picture that makes the two events seem inseparable.
I trust that President Jonathan has sacked Sanusi in order to save our apex bank from the Sanusi recklessness.
I also, however, think that the President had all the time and opportunities in the world to sack Sanusi long before now.
I am not afraid of the opposition who have come up with every balderdash to manipulate Nigerians into believing Jonathan acted in bad faith.
I am only worried that President Jonathan often takes too long to give the Sanusis around him the Sanusi treatment.
He should act faster next time.
Sent in from: Kufre Okon – an Uyo-based journalist and media consultant