Sanusi As Man Of The Year 2013? Right Of Reply By Ayoola Oke

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This is a rejoinder to the article Today’s Guest With Kemi Adeloye: Sanusi Lamido Sanusi – My Man Of The Day 2013.

Usually a man of the year is chosen based on those things he did in that particular year and not what he achieved in other years. Of course it could be things that were commenced in other years but completed or consummated in that particular year. Thus while the writer has every right to chose anybody he pleases as man of the year, his justification do not correlate with Sanusi’s achievement or performance in the year under reference. The point being that in his first or second year in office he could have won man of the year for exactly those things cited in the write up such as exposing, attacking and “cleansing” the rot in the Banking industry. Would we now give him man of the year every year for what he did in a particular year? 

Personally I cannot count anything spectacular that Sanusi did or consummated this year that will make him deserve man of the year in my own opinion. His major weakness in his position as a REGULATOR has always been his poor regulatory performance. There are approaches he adopts that would shock banking professionals anywhere in the world. Given that an unconventional country may require unconventional governance. But Sanusi has always as Governor done things that compromises the nature of his office. As a chief regulator your are supposed to be an impartial arbiter with balanced well thought out positions on things. Quite often Sanusi comes across as a man with ulterior motives and hidden agenda. Take for example his handling of the Islamic Banking issue which created all kinds of confusion and divisions which over heat the polity. A more thoughtful and conventional regulator would simply have drawn up a comprehensive regulatory frame work (not for Islamic Banking) but for RELIGIOUS and other none conventional Banking, which would have been inclusive and impartial. That would have saved us from all the suspicions and “hue and cry” But my man the Governor adopts a heuristic approach of trial and error that makes him come across as a novice. This was why Okonjo-Iweala totally took him to the cleaners over the missing money.

People just do not understand how that, was massive error when it comes to economic and financial accounting. You just are not allowed to make that kind of mistake as Governor of Central Bank. Clearly the error came from his wrong regulatory approach, which has been the bane of his bold initiatives. Doing things the wrong way just do not work and that is one of the causes of problems in Nigeria.

I did not limit my definition only to acts done within a calender year but also acts that may have been done in other years but consummated in that calender year. In other words those acts came to fruition or specially impacted the year in question. Some acts do not stand alone but may be part of a series of actions or an event thus they would transcend years but the series or event must specially impact the year in question. Thus if we want to talk of Sanusi’s banking reforms he was certainly a candidate for man of the years for 2009, 2010 or even 2011 and indeed he received several awards for those years. Those are the relevant years in my opinion where the reforms had their greatest impact and not 2013. Except we want to give him man of the ‘half decade’ or man of the years?

On the other hand he shot himself in the leg with the 49.5 billion Naira scandal. There are two parts to the scandal; the first cast him as protagonist and saint but the other cast him as a sinner. That he raised awareness that there might be impropriety, thefts or bad accounting on the part of Government was good but that his mathematics did not add up in my opinion was suicidal and will forever remain a stigma to his role as Central Bank Governor.

WHY? The Governor of Central Bank is the Chief Banker to the nation and one absolute and indispensable competence a banker must possess and demonstrate is exactitude up to several decimal points. Imagine your account officer in your bank telling you that you are owing 50 milllion Naira and insisting on it only for you to make your own calculations and discover that what you owe is 10 million Naira? You will be livid and feel scandalised! You confidence and trust would be shaken. It will cause you even to wonder what other mistake may have been made with regards to your account and if you should not insist on a new account officer or a new bank altogether.

Thus the first scandal was that billions could be missing or improperly accounted for. (improperly for now because they are still working on reconciliation). The second scandal is that the mathematics of our chief banker does not add up and not even by decimal point “deca-mal” points in billions!

While what is most important to us as a nation is the content of the first scandal, the second scandal complicates and raises all kinds of issues about the first. Is there gross negligence on the part of the Governor or is there some malice or other negative agenda on his part? Is it possible that no money is missing or that even there is much more missing which the competence of the Governor now in doubt cannot detect?

That is why there are now many sides now creating a multidimensional controversy!

Having said all these and concluded in my own opinion that Sanusi cannot be my own man of the year, I must state that his choice as man of the year may not necessarily be without merits for the following reasons:

A man of the year need not be a saint on one hand he could be a man with a few or many flaws and on the other hand he could be a complete sinner. Thus for example Adolf Hitler was man of the year 1938 for being the greatest destabilising force to the world. As TIME magazine explained his choice, he was the most threatening force that democratic and freedom loving world faced at the time.

Thus it is not out of place to argue that in spite of his sins (for which I think he should either honourably resign or be removed from office) he is man of the year for having generated the impact he has over the missing billions. But should our dear President not also join him in that category? Being the President presiding over a period of missing or improperly accounted for funds running into billions of dollars. Before now the record was 2.8 billion dollars under Obasanjo but today we now talk of 10-12 billion dollars.

For me I am inclined to choose FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI because even in death his uncanny nostradamic foresight continues to confound the imagination. To quote him from 30 years ago “Deadi bodi geti accident YEPA! Confusion breaki bonu, YEPA!! Double wahala for deadi bodi and the owner of deadi bodi” How did Fela Kuti get it so right from 30 years ago?

Well it is all part of the broken bones of Confusion that we cannot account for ten or tens of billions of dollars even with world bank “geniuses” and “doctoral” professors at the helm of affairs and a Central Bank Governor that cannot count up to ten!

And it is for this reasons that I will not pick Sanusi as man of the year.

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