This article summerizes what many of us know, and have been saying on this topic from day one. Enjoy!
Whither Is Lamido Sanusi Leading Nigeria? (2)
What or who exactly is Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria?
Peter P. EKEH, professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is obviously not enamoured of the CBN boss.
The information we have on Sanusi’s preparation for his present position is sparse and unpublicized. We read that he did his undergraduate degree in Economics at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, graduating in 1981. We do not know in what area s of economics he specialized. It is traditional at that University to write a Research Essay in the final year. It would be important to know on what topic Lamido Sanusi wrote his essay. It is also good information to know what class of degree he earned to enable him to graduate from that University. The publicity piece on Sanusi on the Web site of Central Bank of Nigeria tells us that Sanusi took M. Sc. (Economics) courses, apparently without taking the degree at the end, although he is said to have obtained a distinction in Monetary Policy. Did he abandon the M.Sc. project? We are told that Sanusi returned briefly to teach at Ahmadu Bello University.
What subjects did he teach? These are elementary facts that should be available from a full curriculum vitae of the Chief Economist of the Federation. They are the sort of questions that any interviewing body would demand from any young academic who applies for the position of Lecturer or Senior Lecturer in any of our universities. In addition, we may demand to know from Nigeria’s Chief Economist whether he took any professional examinations in banking while he worked at ICON Limited (Merchant Bankers) and United Bank for Africa before he became the CEO of First Bank of Nigeria. Finally, it will be beneficial for our judgment of the qualifications of our national Chief Economist to gain information on whether his studies in Islamic Law at the University of Khartoum, Sudan, in the hiatus between his years at ICON Limited and UBA, were related to his banking profession. The Central Bank Web site informs us that Sanusi bagged a First Class degree in his Islamic Studies in the Sudan. These are not over-bearing or over-probing questions. We would know about such background of the Governors of the Central Banks of any other African countries from their curriculum vitae.
Perhaps more important is Sanusi’s publication record. Fortunately, in modern times several vehicles exist for accessing the records of anyone who has engaged in academic or professional publishing. For this exercise I have employed the liberal vehicle of Harzing’s Publish or Perish. The result for Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is distressing. He has ten papers listed. They come from such newspaper-grade media sources as www.gamji.com and Daily Trust. All of them are about Sharia, Islamic Law and women. None of them is about economics or banking. The Web site of Central Bank of Nigeria boasts that Sanusi has publications in learned journals, but none is listed. They surely do not appear in the public record.
What is compelling about Sanusi’s public record is that a number of things stand out when his publications are compared to those of other Governors of Central Banks in comparable African nations – using the same vehicle of Harzing’s Publish or Perish. With a record of forty-two publications listed, almost all of them focused on economic and monetary matters of Kenya, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u must be adjudged to be a formidable Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya. Also revealing is the publication record of the Governor of Ghana’s Central Bank. Since his doctoral thesis on A Macroeconometric Analysis of Export Instability in Economic Growth for the University of Pennsylvania in 1972, Paul Acquah has engaged in serious academic and professional discussions of macroeconomic issues for Ghana and other African nations (e.g., Zaire) as well as for the whole continent in published media. Ms Gill Marcus of South African Reserve Bank is formidable from several perspectives, including an impressive record of publications. Finally, Sudan’s Central Bank’s Governor, Dr. Sabir Mohamed Hassan, has an impressive record of published engagement with an analysis of his country’s economy.
Two features separate Lamido Sanusi’s published works from those of these other Governors of Central Banks of comparable African nations. First, they are not devoted to politics and religion – subjects to which Sanusi appears wholly committed, to the apparent exclusion of economic analysis. Second, Sanusi shows no interest whatsoever in economic and banking analysis, not even of risk-management, in his published records. On the other hand, according to their published public records, Africa’s other Governors of Central Banks are substantially devoted to the academic and professional analyses of the economic circumstances of their nations. It should be clear to Nigerians that President Umaru Yar’ Adua could not have chosen Lamido Sanusi as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on account of his accomplishments in the understanding of Nigerian and African economic issues. Nor did the Senate that confirmed him so readily bother to ask pertinent questions with respect to his relative qualifications in the context of African economic circumstances.
Lamido Sanusi’s Temperament
Even if potential candidates were well qualified in professional and macroeconomic matters, those examining them for the enormous office of Governor of Central Bank are expected to weigh the candidates’ temperament along with how well they will relate to significant portions of the nation. Lamido Sanusi probably tells the truth, as he sees it, without fear or favour. In other words, he sees himself as a gadfly in public discourse. In doing so, he offends significant constituencies. Should he therefore expect to hold an office that is owned by the entire country?
Dr. Frederick Fasehun’s recent statement on the appointment of Lamido Sanusi reveals major flaws that would in ordinary circumstances disqualify other Nigerians from holding this high office. It is enough to cite Fasehun’s reactions to Sanusi’s derisive characterization of various sections of the country. Fasehun writes:
Sanusi has remained unapologetic and unrepentant of his ethnic chauvinism. In the past, he has said of the Igbos in a paper, “Issues in Restructuring of Corporate Nigeria,” that: “The Igbos themselves must acknowledge that they have a large part of the blame for shattering the unity of this country.”
Having said that this nation must realise that Igbos have more than paid for their foolishness, he said in the same piece: “The Yorubas: the greatest obstacles to nation-building, are the Yoruba Bourgeoisie, I say this also to underscore my point that until they change in this attitude, no conference can solve the problems of Nigeria. The country cannot move forward if the leadership of one of the largest ethnic groups continues to operate, not like statesmen, but like common area boys.”
And on Afenifere he declared: “A Syllabus of Errors … the problems of this country have a lot to do with the shift in power away from the Fulani to individuals like Babangida and Abacha, products of lower cultures. The Fulani of the North, proud of the history of the establishment in Nigeria - Ahmadu Bello, Murtala Mohammed, Aminu Kano, Shehu Yar’Adua, Shehu Shagari, Jibril Aminu. They are sad that other Nigerians do not know the difference in ethnic background between, say, Murtala Mohammed [Fulani] and Ibrahim Babangida [Gwari].”
Sanusi has made many other fetid pronouncements about various ethnic groups other than those catalogued by Dr. Fasehun above. In a dominant group like the Fulani, one is likely to encounter talkative and boastful members of a self-proclaimed aristocracy. But one would not expect one of those loquacious boast-masters to be the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The same reservoir of ill-temperament that supplies such an abundance of insults on other people has empowered the impulsive behavior of our new Governor in his short service as the Chief Economist of the Federation. Central Bank Governors in most other nations -- at least those who are professionally competent - would take at least six to twelve months to study the complex tasks in their new responsibilities. But, presuming that he understood all the compound economic problems in the nation’s banking system, Sanusi rushed into his new job with ready-made solutions. The result is the mess in which we now find ourselves.
•To be concluded on Monday