Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Is Lamido Sanusi wasting away in Kano?

By Dr. Ahmed Adamu

Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
Sitting on the throne of the Kano Emirate stool is the no-nonsense and fearless, I dare say saviour of the Nigerian financial sector. The global and African central bank governor of the year (2010), a whistle blower and fighter, one of the 100 most influential people in the world (2011), an Islamic scholar and a ranking Fulani noble man.

His name is Sarki Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. He saved 24 commercial banks in Nigeria that were on the brink of collapse. You won’t be wrong if you say he is perceived as the most courageous public servant who took mustered the courage to expose what many reckoned as excessive corruption and financial mismanagement against the government of his time. His bravery and boldness came with a stiff price that caused his suspension from office, not knowing that truth will pay him even more few months after.

As the Nigerian central bank governor, his policies were against the extreme capitalists who accumulated illegal wealth at the expense of the poor. He was the people’s bank governor, and ensured softer banking policies for the masses and guaranteed their deposits. He sacked powerful bank managing directors and charged them for their corrupt practices, a move that many termed “Sanusi Thunami”. The introducer of the cashless economy and an orator and mentor to the young people.

He was the first from northern Nigeria to become the MD of the First Bank Plc, one of the biggest financial institutions in Africa. A renown economist with 30 years of banking experience, he is also a development economist and practitioner. In his anti-corruption campaign, he opposed the Nigerian petroleum subsidy regime that subsidises corruption. He is the emir of the second ranking royal kingdom in northern Nigeria. He once asked his followers to revenge on attacks by Boko Haram militant group, a call that led to an attack on his mosque killing more than 150 of his people.

Having briefly described who Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is, who I would rather call SLS, one would believe that such a person is a national resource that any country will long to have. I do not see a better time when Nigeria needed the services of SLS again than now. A time when the historical democratic revolution became possible in Nigeria, a time when the long awaited change arrived, a time when the masses look up with high hope and optimism into the future, and a time when the country is yearning for seasoned technocrats to actualise the real change.

Unequivocally, this is not the time for trial and error in some sensitive government positions, it is not time for political compensations.

It is time to build a new Nigeria; the tested and trusted ones must be brought forward even against their wishes to deliver national assignments. However, they must be mixed with younger ones to train and inspire them.

Nigeria does not want to fail again. The democratic prosperity of the country lies on the success of this administration, so it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to pitch in and contribute toward upholding the democratic virtues in Nigeria. The failure of this administration will be tantamount to dampening the spirit of democratic transparency and honesty. The struggle that Nigerians undertook to ensure democracy prevails must be compensated with excellent performance by the government, and this cannot happen without people like SLS.

This is the time we need to flush out corruption entirely from Nigeria, the time to put back our economy back on track. The time to restore the value of the Naira, the time to diversify the economy, and the time to create more jobs. And SLS has all it takes to help this administration achieve these objectives. I will call it a suicide mission if Nigeria fails this time around, while people like SLS are just watching on the throne.

It sounds delusional for some promising royal families to be obsessed to the traditional institutions. There is much more SLS can offer to humanity than just being a king. It is sad that such a resource person is consumed by obsession for traditional institution. Despite SLS’s vast experience, he is now confined to a particular place, ruling only the people of Kano without much economic and political power to make decisive changes. SLS is now under the state control managed by politicians, whose rules sometimes supersedes that of the king.

In modern democratic structure, traditional rulers have little or no role; most of their duties are now placed on relevant government ministries and departments. The question therefore is what is the compelling roles of kings in our societies today that will prevent them from offering their services to the country? Some will say they settle disputes and serve as a monument of the historical lineage of the then powerful kings, who fought wars and institute governance pre-colonial era. The king is more or less ceremonial, because in every district, he has representative who is closer to the people and settles their disputes. So, a king can even rule from anywhere, as long as he receives reports from the districts and royal heads. With Sharia courts, people may not have to resort to the emirates to settle grievances any more. I do not intend to condemn the entire traditional institution, because at least I am a fan of durbar back in Katsina, and I love to see the traditional heads in their royal horses with beautiful decorations.

Therefore, you can see now SLS is beyond just being a Kano king, in fact, he was the preferred presidential candidate of many, and until he was appointed emir, he was among the front presidential hopefuls. His speech at the Abuja TeDex convinced many young people that he has what it takes to rule not just Kano but Nigeria. Nigerians should rise and demand for the service of SLS once again. He should pull off that turban and take eight years sabbatical leave from the emirate and come to Abuja as minister of finance, and then he can go back and rule Kano till his death. While he is on the sabbatical leave, he can keep visiting the emirate just like the way Buhari visits his farm regularly. SLS may wish to continue wearing his royal attires, and will always go to Kano for the official durbar ceremony twice a year.

Therefore, I call on PMB to appoint SLS as a minister in his cabinet, and force him to accept the offer in the event he hesitates.

Dr. Ahmed Adamu,Petroleum Economist and Development Expert,Pioneer Global Chairperson of Commonwealth Youth Council,University Lecturer (Economics), Umaru Musa Yar’adua University Katsina.

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