His early years
Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) was born in 1961 in the old city of Kano, somewhere near the emir’s palace. He is the grandson of a one-time Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi, who was deposed by the government of the First Republic.
Mallam Sanusi Lamido was named after his grandfather, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi. “Lamido” which is his middle, is the Fulani word for an emir or a king just as “Sarki” in Hausa language is a name given after a reigning king.
Mallam Sanusi’s father, Ambassador Mohammed Aminu Sanusi, started work in the administrative department of the former Northern Nigeria. He was later recruited to the Foreign Service sometime in 1958, on the same day Philip Asiodu was recruited.
When Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido was born and during his early years, he did not enjoy a long stay with his parents. This is because his parents were always on the move, posted from one place to another. For this reason, it was his grandfather and the then Emir of Kano, who took direct responsibility of bringing him up in those early days.
But given the kind of intimate relationship that usually grows between grandfathers and grandsons and the way the Emir had pampered his grandson, it was also considered wise by members of Mallam Sanusi’s immediate family to transfer his custody from his grandfather to the then Defence Minister, Alhaji Muhd Inuwa Wada, who as at then was resident in Lagos. Inuwa Wada was married to the younger sister of Mallam Sanusi’s grandmother.
His nursery education then started in Lagos and not outside the country as presumed. He also attended Kings College, Lagos, from where he proceeded to the Department of Economics, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, where he graduated with a grade that was simply average.
Sources, who schooled with him at ABU, Zaria, recalled that there was nothing spectacular and super brilliant about his grades and scores, either as a student or upon graduation from the university. He was just an average student.
After university, he joined the banking sector. But in the course of his working career, he decided to go and study Arabic in the University College of Sudan. And from facts available to people close to him, he studied Arabic and not Islamic Banking or Sharia as is popularly acknowledged.
The source reminded Saturday Sun: “You must understand that at the time he went to the University College in Sudan, not many people knew anything about Islamic Banking. It was not being taught as such in most schools. Any talk about his studying Islamic Banking or studying Sharia Law may not be the whole truth”
The source explained that the move for additional knowledge was fired by a desire to fill up a gap in his heritage, explaining that it is popular among Muslims to strive to have a good knowledge of both classical Arabic, which is the Arabic of the Qu’ran and what is today called Modern Arabic.
His study in Sudan was partly that of convenience too. His uncle, Ambassador Ado Sanusi, who is the immediate younger brother of his father, was then an Ambassador in the Sudan. That meant that he had less to do with feeding himself and his light family members that went with him to Sudan. It also meant that he would have less to with the cost of accommodation as his uncle was already on ground to assist.
In life, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi‘s ambitions could be surmised in three simple catchments: To be the next Emir of Kano; to be the president of Nigeria and to be the President of the African Development Bank, ADB. Each of these ambitions had not only attracted his fancy, especially in the later years of his career as the governor of CBN, but has somewhat played roles in his understanding of his own worth.
But the position of the CBN governor was never his prime quest when he began work in the banking sector. It came after.
Saturday Sun gathered that the banking career of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi started in 1985, when he joined Icon Limited (Merchant Bankers), a subsidiary of Morgan Guaranty Trust Bank of New York, and Baring Brothers of London. From there, he joined the United Bank for Africa and was posted to the Credit and Risk Management Division. He rose to the position of General Manager in the Division.
In September 2005, he joined the Board of First Bank of Nigeria as an Executive Director in charge of Risk and Management Control, and was appointed Group Managing Director (CEO) in January 2009.
Credible sources recalled how he came to the post of CBN governor, saying a great credit of what he became would go to Alhaji Umaru Abdul Muttalab, former minister and leading businessman in the country.
“Mallam Sansui was the choice of Alhaji Abdul Mutallab. He has always been. He supervised his move to First Bank of Nigeria Plc. He also played a role in his appointment as the Group Managing Director (CEO) of First Bank in January 2009 and he whispered his name as a prospective CBN governor to the late President Yar Adua”.
Alhaji Mutallab, a respected gentleman from Funtua in Katsina State, was approached by the late Yar Adua to become the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. But he turned down the offer on account of his age, and due to the fact he had his hands in so many interests in the banking and related sectors.
Following his refusal to take up the appointment, the late President Yar ‘Adua’s search swayed elsewhere. But unsatisfied with the various candidates that were jostling for the position and having made up his mind that Prof. Chukwuma Soludu would not get a second term, the late Yar Adua was said to have decided to heed the advice of Alhaji Mutallab.
Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was, therefore, nominated by the President on 1st June 2009 as the CBN governor and his appointment was confirmed by the Senate on 3rd June same year.
Strength and weaknesses
Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is considered, by close associates, as a hardworking, straight and forthright officer. He is, however, seen as a very loud personality that enjoys arguments a lot.
“He is well read and may not give in too easily to the other point of views. He is somebody who talks a lot in the media in a manner not expected of the CBN helmsman.
“I think he has an arrogant personality which may not be easy to cure at this his age. This is my personal opinion. Yours about him might be different”
Saturday Sun gathered that in between his days in Zaria, his working career in Kano and elsewhere, he got himself close to the fiery preacher, Sheikh El Za Zakky, who lives in Zaria, Kaduna State. He was close to his school of Islam.
Reactions from the emirate
A cross-section of views in the ancient city of Kano indicated that the suspended governor of the Central Bank is not a super weight in the politics of Kano State and may soon drop into insignificance after this season, once the sympathies and emotions are down.
They similarly said that he may not come near his dream of becoming the Emir of Kano as there are equally several competent, educated and possible candidates for the position when the time comes.
That notwithstanding, Kano State Governor, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso has faulted Sanusi’s suspension, saying that there was an ulterior motive behind the action.
Kwankwaso stated that the suspension was a grand design to dislodge the people of Kano State from the economic and financial decision-making agencies of the Federal Government in order to further impoverish and marginalize the state.
The governor also said it was sheer disrespect to the existing laws of the land and show of ingratitude that a person who has brought about sweeping positive changes that would have put the nation’s economy on the pedestal of growth would be treated unfairly.
He said Sanusi should rather be commended for exposing the rot and corruption in the NNPC. “A responsible government would have promptly investigated the allegations but they disappointingly refused to do so,” Kwankwaso said.
While describing the suspension as illegal, null and void, Gov. Kwankwaso noted that the CBN Act provides that the removal of CBN Governor “shall be supported by two-third majority of the Senate praying that he be so removed.”
“Clearly, therefore, law does not give the President the power to suspend the CBN governor without recourse to the Senate. You cannot just trample on the law with impunity, without recourse to constitutional provisions,” he added.
The governor further drew an analogy between Sanusi’s suspension and the removal of President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami by President Jonathan.
“In a similar guise of suspension, Justice Salami was removed by the President and was not reinstated despite his reinstatement by the NJC. They refused to do so until he attained the retirement age of 70 years,” he said.
Similarly, a statement by the Galadima Kano, Alhaji Tijjani Hahim, on behalf of the Kano Emirate Council, expressed reservation over the suspension of Sanusi.
“As a law abiding organisation, we believed that adherence to the rule of law is paramount and important to any government, more importantly a democratically elected government which preach and ensure adherence to the rule of law,” said the Council.
“As the president has suspended the governor without the recourse to the rule of law, we believed it was deliberate attempt to witch-hunt him. It is desperation and impunity at the highest level by the Federal Government.
“We and many see the president’s action as a deliberate witch- hunt of the governor for doing his job by letting Nigerians know the monumental fraud going on at the petroleum industry.”
The Emirate Council expressed gratitude to the members of the National Assembly and general public for condemning and objecting to the suspension of the CBN governor.
They urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, review the issue by following the laid down procedure on the suspension of public officer for equity, justice and fairness.
“A nation building is not about individual’s like or dislike. Democracy will never mature if we stay with proclivity to personalized governance. We need to build an institution, we need to build our democracy and commitment to public accountability is part of building institution,” the council stated.
Also, an elder statesman and Second Republic Political Adviser, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai told Saturday Sun that it would be a surprise if the suspended CBN governor had not been expecting his removal bearing in mind the dwindling relationship between him and the presidency.
Social critic and former National Chairman of the defunct Peoples Salvation Party (PSP), Dr. Junaid Mohammed told Saturday Sun in Kano that the current travail of Sanusi as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has nothing to do with anybody in Kano. “It has nothing to do with the Emir, it has nothing to do with anybody in Kano.”
He maintained that apart from being a prince, Sanusi is a nobody in Kano, stressing that people only find it convenient to encourage anybody that is opposed to the government of the day because the Federal government is simply hated in the state.
According to him: “When this president became president, he (Sanusi) was very loyal to him. He went out of his way to cultivate the president, he was close to some of the women around the president, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Diezani Alison Madueke and Aruma Oteh, they were like a gang.
“Now, the reality of the situation is that when he was in his good relationship with them and by extension, with the president, the president never did any wrong. It was only when he started getting into difficulties- and a lot of these difficulties were by his own mouth.”
“You cannot be part of a government, even if it is semi -autonomous body like the Central Bank and pretend that you have nothing to with the government policies. Or you can begin to choose which government policy to support and which one to oppose.”
Source: The Sun