Sanusi’s controversial parting gift,By Danlami Nmodu

sanusi-lamido newIt is common knowledge that the tenure of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi,the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN is about to end.Unconfirmed reports claim he might be proceeding on terminal leave in March.Sanusi is believed to have told workers at the apex bank that he will quit in June this year.
Even if he leaves now,the man has left a parting gift already considered too baleful in some official quarters.Signs that Sanusi,’s tenure would be unlike others emerged much earlier when he supervised the ouster of bank ceos thus causing a stir in the industry.
Just like the beginning, signs that the end of his tenure would be tumultuous emerged when details of a personal letter he wrote to President Good luck Jonathan were leaked to the media.In the letter the CBN governor drew the president’s attention to $49.8billion which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,NNPC had not remitted to the federation account.Of course, as far as journalists and others were concerned , this was a clear case of missing and they reported it as such much to the discomfiture of government.
Next we witnessed a concerted efforts by stakeholders in the now embattled economic team who gathered in Abuja to reconcile the figures.Later, a statement was issued to the effect that the issue had been resolved and what was outstanding was $10.8billion.
Interestingly, even after the reconciliation meeting,many observers began to question the judgment of the CBN governor.Some even argued that he was ignorant of the workings of the petroleum sector and was there for incompetent to speak on the matter.Strange claims,I thought because,in my reasoning, this curious argument may instigate Sanusi to make further disclosures.
Amazingly ,that was exactly what happened at the Senate Committee hearing.Sanusi said out of a total sum of $67 billion only 47 billion has been paid into federation account leaving an outstanding $20 billion to be accounted for by the NNPC.
There is this controversy over how much is really missing? $49.8 billion or $10.8 ,or $20billion.My argument is not even about the shifting total figure of from $49.8billion to $67 billion; neither do I think the issue is about the S10.8 billion nor S20 billion.Don’t get me wrong, the revelations are important as the quest for transparency rages.
But my central argument is :What caused the failure of inter agency communication happen that will leave the entire government so mortally embarrassed. And as the latest revelations of kerosene subsidy emerged it is clear that the NNPC feels particularly embarrassed .I remember the NNPC spokesman saying that the the parastatal never received any instruction about kerosene subsidy.Sanusi said there was a standing instruction .How could communication about such a major policy issue not reach NNPC.We need to know who should be held accountable.
I think there are far more disturbing issues.First is the seeming lack of compactness in the running of government .By implication, Sanusi has just announced that several key agencies of government work in spite of the other.
Secondly,where is the concept of economic team.I believe if there was an economic team, all this issues would have arisen at meetings and the figures would be sorted out. What is unfolding now, gives the impression that there is no coordinated economic team
You could recall during Obasanjo that Okonjo Iweala, Oby Ezekwsili, Nasir El Rufai,Nuhu Ribadu ,Chukuma Soludo ,etc were part of the economic team coordinated possibly by the president .Sanusi’s resort to a letter was a major indictment of how the economic managers are are either non existent or not coordinated .And coming to think this is happening at a time Nigeria has a coordinating minister is really worrisome.
I have tried to avoid name calling and throwing barbs here because what is unfolding is not even about Sanusi nor Diezani Alison Madueke nor even Jonathan.If what has happened, now if not exposed by whoever, the same mess could happen under any other president minister or CBN governor.So while it is important to appreciate Sanusi ,it is equally necessary to alert Nigerians that what is happening is a wake up call about a systemic weakness.
I admit there are those who are suspicious of Sanusi’s motives.Some claim he is in tandem with the opposition.The question,I like to ask is will a man who has sympathies for PDP keep quiet if he sees some rot going on? Is that how we want to build a great country.I don’t think even PDP will remain great if it tolerates this level questionable transaction.Remember though ,no one has been indicted..
Let’s face it, there appears to be system holes that need to plugged to avert some sort of collapse of the nation’s economy.
I hold the view that the Nigerian presidency as it is currently structured is inherently corruptive. In fact,Sanusi may well be APC or PDP, what matters to me is the increasing need for whistle blowers. And such whistle blowers whether from the within or from outside government should be encouraged ,not vilified.And let no one crucify the Petroleum minister and other stakeholders yet.Let them give their side of the story.We need to truly hear their story in an open and transparent manner.
I also believe sorting out this mess will be incomplete without urging Okonjo Iweala to sit up.There appears to be no coordination.The fact that the stake holders rush to ensure reconciliation of accounts is a testament to the disparate nature of the economic management team that she ought to be coordinating.
Someone needs to let them know that this is not about politics but about the survival of Nigeria’s economic health and the need to entrench compliance with the law and ensure transparency in government.
Article earlier published in The Union newspaper

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