• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Sanusi and the dog, which fraternises with goats


On 9/3/2020, the government of Kano dethroned Mohammed Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano, banished him to Nasarawa State, and placed him under house arrest. Since them, Malam el-Rufai has absconded from his duties to become the Strategic and PR adviser to the deposed Emir. And then, in one of the swiftest judicial hearings in Nigeria, his motion against his detention was received, assigned, heard and approved, all within 24 hours. I never knew that our judiciary was this effective and efficient.

The thunderous downing of Sanusi as the Emir of Kano was predicted and predictable. And for those who have forgotten, this is his second dethronement because in 2014 was dethroned as the “Emir” of the Central Bank of Nigeria. And while at CBN he declared that being an Emir was his greatest dream. I don’t know whether he used his CBN position and resources to ‘suo-ohia’ (clear the bush) for the exalted throne. It is also noteworthy that both at CBN and at the Kano Emirate, his travails had to do with talkativeness and finances. I will discuss the Sanusi ordeal in the context of our peoples saying about the dog that enjoys the company of goats. But before then, I will share with you some snippets of my views of Sanusi. It will become obvious that a leopard does not readily change its spots, that Sanusi will always be Sanusi and that if fate thrusts another role on him, it may well end up as it has always ended up.

I first “interrogated” Sanusi when he declared in 2012 that the indefensible Boko Haram madness was caused by deprivation. I examined the issues at stake and concluded inter alia: “Sanusi…has a runny mouth. He talks and talks, both on issues that concern his brief [where ordinarily, silence is the norm] and the ones that do not concern him. He forgets he is a public servant; he forgets he is a CBN governor; he forgets that he is a technocrat (real or so-called).

It is because of him that I have aligned with some hardcore statisticians to develop a flippancy index (in simple terms, the degree of talkativeness). Sanusi’s flippancy is the highest in Nigeria and among the top-rangers in the globe… His talkativeness creates some paradoxes. He presents himself as a revolutionary but he is serving in an ultra-conservative government and in an ultra-conservative institution… as a rebel (with or without a cause) when he attacks the government of which he is a high-ranking member in the market square. He is the only CBN governor in the whole world… who talks this much and this often and most of the time, he talks himself into trouble. (Ik Muo, Revisiting Sanusi’s BokoHaram-Derivation Linkage Theory, 29/5/12)

I also “intervened” when he was thrown out of the CBN. My first intervention was impromptu and part of it went thus, “it was a bumpy ride that ended on a bumpy note. Sanusi came in on a wave of high expectations and raised serious dusts in the process of settling the issues he met on ground. He also left, raising even more dusts and creating another record-that of suspension. … My key charge against him-which I have levelled publicly severally- is his talkativeness, which is not good for anybody of his status. Furthermore, it is difficult for a CBN governor to be an activist. The Sanusi affair also shows clearly that personality is a critical factor and that the next CBN governor must be brilliant but more important, INTELLIGENT! (Ik Muo, reaction to BusinessDayonline, 20/2/14).

Few days later, I made a detailed analysis of the Sanusi Affair and commented inter alia “Sanusi came in with the furiousness of Jehu (2nd Kings 9:20) as indicated with his brand of reforms, releasing the list of debtors (which never worked) several summersaults, and regulation by the media. His tenure was characterised by unnecessary and avoidable controversies. His departure is also characterised by controversies and a lot of dusts have been raised that will take quite a while to settle. His suspension… gave rise to a suspended governor, an acting governor and a governor in waiting! Surely, we will never forget that Sanusi was here. Already, cases and charges are building up from the government side while Sanusi has declared that he was never appointed by the President (?), that he was only surprised that it did not happen earlier and that he  would test the legality of the action in court in the interest of the incoming CBN governor(how patriotic of him!). He has argued that CBN under his care is not as bad as NNPC that runs an illegal subsidy regime and has not audited its account since 2005. (Sanusi and the words of our elders! Ik Muo, 25/2/14). The words of elders’ aspect will come in due course!)

Much later, I did a detailed analysis of his tenure and stated among others that we had a CBN Governor that was operating as the spirit directed and would rather refer you to his Financial Times interview if one enquired about his agenda. He had an unhidden divided loyalty, serving two masters as it were, and his loyalty to the Kano Emirate was actually paramount. He had a strange interpretation of CBN independence and while he behaved like a social crusader against the government of which he is a critical player, he did not deem it necessary to resign in protest.

He was the only CBN governor in our history (and probably across the globe) who ran down (badmouthed) his banks and bankers, castigated the executive, legislature and judiciary and lied with official statistics and did not give a damn about it… He is also the only one in Nigeria who left his banking job, went to study a totally unrelated course (Sharia and Islam) returned to the same job and even got to the top. If somebody like me had tried that, it would have been the end of my career! He thrived in controversy and seemed to embellish in stroking it when there is none… There were also some wonderful developments though some   were however Sanusitised into controversy. These include the cashless banking, the Islamic banking (the groundwork was laid by Soludo) and Sustainable banking (The Central Bank of Nigeria under Sanusi. Ik Muo, 11/11/14).

Power by its nature when offended can destroy an individual. For that reason, a few people speak. But no society changes until people are able to speak truth to power. He also added that Prison is nothing, I’ll go in and come out

In between, and after his coronation as an Emir my good friend, Abraham Ogbodo weighed in as follows: Sanusi has been sanctified and must cultivate a new set of attitudes to maintain his sanctity. He must drop the mallam title which does not fit the emirship; pull down the bohemian façade which presents him like a labour activist, cut down on his loquacity and histrionics because traditional rulers, especially those on the first-class category do not talk like men in the street…! He should avoid the temptation to mount the podium and perform verbal stunts at every opportunity. He should speak words that will not return to him empty; there is no need to shout wolves when sheep are in sight. If the man says $49.8 billion, that figure should not change form like an amoeba within weeks to 12, 10 and finally, 20 (Abraham ogbodo: Now that Sanusi Has been sanctified. Guardian, 15/6/14, p10)

Obviously, talkativeness, defiance and rebelliousness are in his DNA. He also doesn’t know that there is a word called diplomacy. In an interview on 22/2/14, he declared There is an underlining philosophy to my approach to life, which is that I believe we should speak truth to power. Power by its nature when offended can destroy an individual. For that reason, a few people speak. But no society changes until people are able to speak truth to power. He also added that Prison is nothing, I’ll go in and come out. That is Sanusi for you and the latest happening has shown that Sanusi will always be Sanusi. (To be concluded).

Other matters: Glad to be an elder at Ikoyi Passport office

I think it was the UNICEFF who declared any 40-year-old to be an elder. Since I crossed 40, I have been seriously claiming this eldership. As I grew older, as where I am going became nearer than where I was coming from and as I found myself among the oldest 25 percent wherever I am at any point in time, I realised that this elder business has become real. Of course, there are elders and there are elders.  Professor Uchenna Nwosu is 81 and yet he is busy managing Igbo-Ukwu WhatsApp groups and using his knowledge of medicine to “counter mote” a lot of inanities going on African science. My in-law, Ide JNC Ezeife, a principal extraordinaire, is 96, if not more. And yet, he is the first to arrive at the Town Union or Idu Cabinet meetings. Anyway, our people say that after a man has grown, he will wait for others to join him.  They have grown and they waited for me. As I am growing, I am also waiting for other boys who would soon be men.

On Tuesday, 10/3/20, I was at the Ikoyi Passport office to renew my passport. It is not that I am going anywhere. This is my 4th passport and I have left the shores of Nigeria only thrice. But It is my right to have a current passport, in case something crops up. Anyway, I was at the Passport Office. The crowd and general madness there were unnerving. I had been on this for two days and I wondered about having to spend another third day on this passport business.  At the Passport Renewal Office, I met a very fine gentleman named Andy. After he attended to me, he asked me to come along and pointed at one door and said “enter that room; they will attend to you it is for elders and it is your right”.

I got into the room, met a varied group of people, some toddlers, some youths with scrabbled hair and tattered jeans, some of middle age.  The officer I met there ordered one small boy to surrender his seat to me and I sat down. After a while the same officer said: after the person being captured, we have to attend to these elders. By that time, we were three elders in the room. Sure enough, they attended to three of us and continued with the other youngsters who had somehow found themselves in the elders’ room. Before I left, I told the officer that I was glad and excited for being given a special treatment because of my age. That was the first time I was experiencing that and… It feels good! By the way, the passport process in Nigeria is BIG Business and everybody in that environment is a businessman, the big, the small and the idle civilians milling around. If you doubt it, walk into any passport office and attempt to request for the green passport.