Vanguard (Lagos)

11 December 2012

Nigeria: Sanusi Again! (II)

Photo: Vanguard
Vanguard newspaper illustrates the concern.

opinion

I ALWAYS said this about the militancy in the Delta while fully condemning it: The truth remains that militants tapped into a groundswell of frustration.

In addressing that problem, we have gone to an extreme now where the levels of poverty in the North are recreating the same conditions and results we saw in the Niger Delta".

The same Sanusi, thereafter, facilitated the donation of N100 million to victims of the Boko Haram menace inKano. This attracted bitter criticisms from most Nigerians, most especially, law makers. CBN claimed that it was not the first time that it will be assisting victims of disasters.

This singular action spurred torrents of criticism against him and led to the call for a review of the autonomy granted the apex bank in the CBN Act.

Moving into another round of controversy, Sanusi, at a lecture he delivered titled, "The Economy in Perspective: Consolidating the Gains of the Banking Sector Reforms", had described the Nigerian stock market as a 'casino', where fraudulent business transactions are perpetrated to the detriment of the citizenry.

He said politicians, particularly public office holders, were accomplices in the shady deals in which depositors of banks and investors in the stock market were being systematically manipulated.

Sanusi had summarily blamed politicians for the failure of Nigerian banks when he said: "A stock market is a very funny casino. Don't entrust your money with gamblers. CBN rules and regulations around the banks cannot be compromised. We are not just doing the sanctioning; we are combing the banks for excellence. The banks must stop creating the impression that they have values when in the actual sense they are dying".

Sanusi also incurred the wrath of the National Assembly at the 7th convocation lecture of theIgbinedionUniversity, Okada,EdoState, when he said 25 per cent of the country's overheads were being spent on the federal legislators alone.

"If you look at the budget, the bulk of government's revenue expenditure is on overheads. That is a big problem; 25 per cent of overheads of the Federal Government go to the National Assembly. We need power. We need infrastructure. So we need to start looking at the structure of expenditure and make it more consistent with the development initiative of the country," he had stated.

After his 'provocative' statement, the Senate invited the CBN boss to appear before its Committee on Appropriation to defend the allegation and, to perhaps, ruffle him.

At the end, the Senator Iyiola Omisore-led committee was proved wrong. After being grilled by the senators for more than four hours, Sanusi stood his ground.

"By my upbringing, if I'm wrong, I don't need to be told to come and say I'm wrong and I would apologise. By my nature, if I am not convinced that I'm wrong, I do not apologise and this is really where the point is," he told the angry committee members. That was the end of the matter.

Recently, Sanusi said the nation does not need 109 senators and 360 House of Representatives members because, according to him, they are a drain to the national purse.

The CBN governor was embroiled in a plagiarism saga, as alleged by a United States-based Nigerian academic, Dr. Victor Dike, an Adjunct Professor at the School of Engineering and Technology,National University, Sacramento.

Sanusi's other controversial issues included his support for the funding for Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON and the introduction of Islamic Banking. It is interesting that despite the furore and antagonism generated, he still went ahead with the introduction.He said he had no apology over his stand on Islamic Banking.

Sooner than later, the CBN announced a comprehensive review of the structure of the nation's currency that would have led to the introduction of N5,000 bill as the highest Naira denomination.

Despite nationwide criticisms, Sanusi was hell bent on implementing the unpopular policy until the Presidency had to put a halt to the move.

No doubt, the latest call by Sanusi is certainly not going to be in the interest of the nation in the sense that the financial burden of maintaining the civil service is meager when compared with the resources going down the drain on the political class and hence, the wide criticism.

In another twist, Sanusi has lashed out on those calling for his sack over his purported statement that the federal government should reduce its work force.

At the end of the 13th session of the Honorary International Investors council meeting, Sanusi said that those calling for his sack "are shying away from the reality of the time".

He said he was misquoted and was never talking about the sack of civil servants but a mere reduction in the size of political appointees who take 70 percent of government revenue leaving a mere 30 per cent for the 160 million Nigerians. Again, that is Sanusi for you!

Mr. ADEWALE KUPOLUYIwrote from Federal University of Agric., Abeokuta, Ogun State.

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