Sanusi Lamido and the Burden of a Whistleblower, By Oludare Ogunlana
Mallam Sanusi’s “nuisance” in raising public consciousness about our stolen and missing dollars in the year 2013 is commendable.
There is no doubt, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is among the controversial figures in Nigeria of today. At times, one will be wondering if the man is actually the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria or a public commentator. His comments generated a lot of controversies in 2013 and his revelation has set tone for economic and political discussion in the year 2014. Hence, Mallam Sanusi is a man of “interest” to look out for in the New Year.
Of course, Mallam Sanusi Sanusi talks a lot. I think he likes a fight. Maybe it is something with his generation because his peer, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the controversial ex-Minister of the FCT, courts as much trouble as Sanusi does.
Every time he writes or open his mouth, the print media splashes bold headlines and the polity becomes heated. SLS, as fondly called by his peers, divides opinion. It all depends on which side of the fence one sits, he is either the Messiah or a Devil reincarnate. When he made the claim that the legislative arms of government was appropriating to itself a quarter of the nation’s budget, all hell was let loose; legislators drilled him to force a retraction while the masses hailed him as a fearless warrior who spared no bones to expose the rot of the ruling class. Such is the nature of the man that he speaks without a forethought to diplomacy and protocol, believing in the truthfulness of his words alone as he sees it.
The latest about SLS was the recent leaked letter to President Goodluck Jonathan detailing the theft of close to $50 billion in oil proceeds by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). In a normal clime, Mallam Sanusi should have tender his resignation letter after such a sensitive disclosure.
However, I understand why such step is not the best option in Nigeria of today. I have learnt the lesson from the time of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu when he was the head of the EFCC. Sanusi’s resignation will not do Nigerians any good but the corrupt government leaders will be the beneficiary of such action. After all, they don’t even want him there any longer. They will prefer a person that will play the game and keep his mouth shut even if the Nigerian economic ship is about to sink.
By June 2014, the man will be gone from the seat of CBN Governor. Comments have started pouring about his legacy. Reading through a recent article published on Saharareporters.com, captioned “CBN: The Poverty In Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s Legacy”, one would conclude that SLS was the worst thing to happen to Nigeria’s financial sector.
However, as a rationale human being, I feel obliged to analyse the man by objective criteria. What were his goals on appointment as the CBN Governor in June 2009? Has he achieved those goals, or not? Rather than dwell on sentiment, I prefer to see figures and facts. These are sufficient to dictate my evaluation of the man.
The effect of the global financial crisis of 2007 had caused significant stress in the Nigerian financial and economic system. It reduced foreign direct investment; the stock market crashed and low lending capacity of the Banks due to massive toxic loan assets was threatening the stability of the economy.
In the coming series, I will critically examine the policies and actions of SLS in view of the foregoing events that heralded his tenure at the helm of the apex bank. It is imperative to separate the controversies from the facts, for this is the only way to put his term in proper perspective and put to public examination the legacy of the man. Of course, it will be important to look into the financial engineering of CBN under SLS vis-à-vis cashless policy program and the impact on money laundering in Nigeria.
It will also do us good to evaluate the impacts of Sanusi’s tenure on low and medium income earners. Of particular reference is the economy on ATM usage, POS, Access to Credit Facilities & other pro-Small & Medium income earners financial policies. LMIGs include – Farmers, Traders, Market Women &Men, Artisans in varied vocations, SME, etc.
It will be appropriate to investigate all his claims about the “missing dollars” as related to the gargantuan level of corruption under the present administration of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Finally, is Sanusi himself a saint or a sinner? I think one of the legacy of Mallam Sanusi is “whistle blowing.” Yes, call him a noise maker just like they called Mallam Ribadu during his tenure as the nation’s anti-corruption czar.
Mallam Sanusi’s nuisance in raising public consciousness about our stolen and missing dollars in the year 2013 is commendable. Happy New Year!
Oludare Ogunlana writes from Baltimore