Thursday, 27 February 2014 07:13

Jumping The Gun On The Nigeria Central Bank Stalemate!

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We may all be jumping the gun in our comments on the on-going battle between the President and his suspended Central Bank Governor. Those of us who are not lawyers by profession have probably assumed a literary meaning of the due process protocol for appointing or removing the Governor of the Central Bank. The protocol does not specifically address the issue of suspension per se the last time I checked,  but since the President has taken liberty of his suspension order to simultaneously send his nominee to fill that vacancy to the Senate for confirmation without any additional explanation or caveat, I think it can be assumed by all reasonable or rational interpretation that the suspension was actually a removal order by the President. He is not saying so in so many words but he cannot fool all of us.

I say we should not be jumping the gun on that since Lamido Sanusi the target of the suspension is on his way to Court to put the records straight or to seek a remedy  which I see as a step in the right direction in a country governed by the rule of Law. The President as powerful as he is cannot be the judge in his own case. He has got to leave that to an impartial Court. The affairs of the apex Bank is far too important to the nation’s economic health, however, for the President and the Governor not to find some way to quickly resolve the debacle. My only reservation would have been the doubt expressed in many quarters that the Judiciary is equally as corrupt as the Legislature and the Executive in Nigeria and that the Court could easily be macro-managed by the President to not do justice.

I feel more confident, however, that the Judiciary is probably not as corrupt as some of us have had cause to believe in the past. I say that because  Mr Lamido himself has alluded to his seeking such remedies from the Court on a number of occasions during his 5 year tenure at the Bank,  and most if not all of the motions, he has taken to Court, have all been ruled in his favor. Other judgments of the Judiciary in Nigeria have shown it is not as bad as we think. Governor Mimiko and Governor Fayemi   and Governor Aregbesola whose mandates were stolen by the P .D .P could not have been reinstated if the Judiciary was as corrupt we often allege.

It is a sad commentary on Nigeria that that some doubts are still being raised on the Judiciary which ought to be the last hope of the common man, the afflicted and the victimized in every society. If the Court is permanently tainted and suspect, we are all in trouble. I still give the Judiciary the benefit of the doubt that it is going to do justice in this matter. But quite often the Law is an ass. I fully understand that.   What the Court decides often depends on the issues put before the Court. If it does not cover all of the other issues for which Nigerians and the general public needs some answers to, we may   feel the court ruling has not gone far enough. The indictment of the Central Bank Governor against the N .N .P .C and by extension the complicity of Mr. President in the subject  is a very serious one. By the same token, the allegations the President has made against the Governor are equally very serious and damaging.

I cannot think of any Central   Bank Governor who has received as many citations and awards for excellence   and performance than Lamido Sanusi. Most of those awards are not just from Nigeria but from the international community. How the recipient of such awards would have gone from being that good and competent to being so wreckless and derelict as suggested by the President is a jigsaw puzzle but we would cross that bridge when we reach it. Let’s wait for the Court’s vedict.That Lamido Sanusi  is now being rubbished by the President as an outlaw or a lunatic completely beats my imagination but I reserve further comments until later.. If Mr. Jonathan has received half the number of awards and performance recognition and citations for performing his duties and responsibilities as President of Nigeria, we would all be singing a different tune about his qualifications for re-election in 2015.

All Nigerians care about is performance within the rule of Law. Murtala Mohammed was hailed as our best Head of State because he performed. Governor Raji Fashola of Lagos is being touted as one of Nigeria’s best Governors,  and  he iis being tipped as a candidate for a higher office in Nigeria for that reason regardless of his party label or affiliation. The same things goes with Governor Oshiomhole of Edo State who is doing a marvelous job as we speak. I guess you can say the same thing of Governor Mimiko of Ondo State and Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and both Governors of Oyo and Ogun State. That is not to say that these Governors are perfect public officials. They are human beings like the rest of us and they are subject to making mistakes but all of them have done very well in my book. I don’t know about you. I am only speaking for myself.

I particularly appreciate Governor Oshiomhole for not playing God when he went out of his way to bend over backwards to apologize and rehabilitate a poor widow he had some problems with in Edo. Lamido Sanusi may have committed a few mistakes along the way just like President Jonathan, the bottom line for me is whether  or not either of them   has ever gone beyond the call of duty to do what is expected of them as good leaders and managers of men. President Jonathan came to office promising to clean up the Augean stable of Corruption in Nigeria. I am holding him to that promise. I do not understand or appreciate his tolerance level for corruption in Nigeria. As a matter of fact I question his double standards when it comes to fighting Corruption in Nigeria. The speed with which he has treated the Lamido 's suspension for financial   wrecklessness and insurbodination does not at all match the same way he has treated the allegations against NNPC and Stella Oduah to mention a few of his Cabinet members including his first lady. Why wait for 5 years to expose Sanusi. I might as well ask the same question of Sanusi, Why now? The two individuals have some questions to answer as far as I am concerned.

Few of our Igbo and Yoruba brothers and sisters who are busy defending the President and questioning the motive or the integrity of some of us who don’t share their views  are just wrong in my judgment. In one of my last articles on Chat Afrik and Sahara where I volunteer my services as a retiree and because I believe in their mission statement as a whistle blower to help mend Nigeria.

I made a statement that the northerners are no more inferior to the southerners. I made that statement out of conviction and I can defend it.  The Northerners have come a long way from the time when much of the Southerners used to look down on them   as inferior and up to no good. Some of them have called me boot lickers for taking that position. I plead guilty as charged if that will please them. I don’t need any of them to define because I know who I am. Some critics were asking how much I was paid to write that article eulogizing the northerners. Many of those critics don’t know me and I don’t know them but I know myself.  I am in the kitchen because I can take the heat. I am not at all fazed by any of their criticisms. I share some of the attributes of Lamido Sanusi as a former civil servant. I got fired from a job one or two times in the Public Service for being a rebel. Governor Ekundayo Opaleye of Ondo State once had cause to fire me as the pioneer Director of Rural Development in Ondo State because he was told and he alleged that I stole millions of Naira from the Directorate but I fought back just like Lamido is doing today and I won and I redeem my name.

I have a strong feeling that few of our Igbo brothers who write for African World Forum and Nigerian World Forum can hardly find anything wrong with the President because in their convoluted minds, the President is doing a great job simply because he appears right now to favor the Igbos with some of the appointments he has made. To give the almighty Petroleum Ministry which provides 98 per cent of Nigerian Revenues and the almighty Finance Ministry and the Secretary to Government to individuals from the South east zone is what matters to them. I look far beyond that in forming an opinion on Mr. President. I am looking at the larger picture. I was one of the pioneer supporters of President Jonathan before it dawned on me the guy was weak, incompetent and corrupt. I say so because of his low tolerance level for Corruption, the “fons et origo” of Nigeria’s problems. If he cannot take the bulls by the horn like Sanusi has been doing today he has lost my support. Period.

I was myself a top civil servant in the Federal Public Service. I retired in 1987, checked out of Nigeria soon after because I have had enough.  I am not just an arm-chair critic like most of the individuals criticizing me.   Most of those critics who live abroad or in Diaspora have never had to sit side by side with any Hausa or Fulani man or woman to work together as colleagues. I have lived in the United States now for upwards of 30 years after my 25 years in the Public Service of Nigeria. I was for a few years the Director of the Salvation Army Emergency Center for Children and Families at Bushwick, New York. Before then I was Supervisor and Manager in many social service agencies in New York where part of my duties included recruitment of middle level  staff and social workers. I recruited many Yoruba and Igbo applicants in most of the places I served. Not once did I find any Hausa or Fulani man coming to look for that kind of job.

The Hausa and Fulani job seekers are rare to come by overseas because there are better jobs waiting for them at home with no less than 19 states in the former northern region. So some of Igbo brothers running their mouths in the United States disputing my facts and figures about the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy just don’t know what they are talking about when they talk about the northerners. One of them made the ridiculous charge that the deposed Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi the father or grand father of Lamido was a thief. That was a blasphamy as far as I am concerned. Why did they not say that at his confirmation hearings when Lamido was first nominated as CBN Governor by Umar u Yar Adua? Lamido is anything but a thief in my book. I am not going to rush to judgment till I hear what the Court has to say about him. I have read his explicit interview with Metropole Magazine where the guy laid it all out in flawless language. I cannoit wait to hear him and the President   state their different positions in Court.

I was being charitable when I said that the northerners are not inferior to the southerners. I speak the truth when I said that and I mean it. If the northerners are really inferior to the southerners, how for God’s sake have the northerners managed to dominate and rule Nigeria for as long as they have done even   long after the British colonial masters have gone home? Today we all agree that the Military has ruled Nigeria for no less than 38 years out of our 53 years of Nigeria’s independence. Those 38 years were dominated by northern officers (Hausa/Fulani) The only exception is Obasanjo who managed to rule for roughly 3 years out of those 38 as the “reluctant” successor to Murtala Mohammed by the special grace of the Hausa/Fulani power brokers.. The best of those military rulers could be said to be Murtala Mohammed who in 200 days  was able to straighten up Nigeria before his death at the hand a Colonel Dimka. Others included Mohamadu Buhari who jumped start the war against Corruption and Indiscipline in Nigeria . Another one  was Ibrahim Babangida who could easily have been the best and the longest serving Head of State had he allowed his 2 party structure to work in Nigeria. The last of them not to talk of Yakubu Gowon and Sani Abacha was Abdulsalam Abubakar who surprisingly kept his promise to return Nigeria to civilian rule in 1999 after just one year office. If the northerners are as daft as the South think they are, how did they manage to create a permanent wedge between the two most dynamic and progressive regions of Nigeria headed by both learned Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo?

The northerners knew they could never defeat  Biafra if they did not have the Yorubas teaming up with them? Awolowo singlehandedly provided the winning formula to fight and end that war not just by not borrowing a penny from the World Bank or the IMF. Awolowo did it with his brain power and the stroke of the pen when the Federal Government decided to embrace the position Awolowo had long canvassed about the need for creation of more states in Nigeria which the NPC and the NCNC   coalition had done for the wrong reasons when they chose to carve out the Mid West from the old Western Region to spite Awolowo and to clip his wings as leader of the most progressive Region of Nigeria at the time. Ahmadu Bello working in cahoot with Nnamdi Azikiwe were the arrow heads of the move to forcibly carve out the Mid West from the West while leaving the East and the huge North untouched at the time.

Nemesis caught up with both of them when they finally saw the wisdom in creating more states from the minorities in the North and in the South just like Awolowo had foreseen.when he first talked about his Calabar Ogoja River axis which produced leaders like Wenike Briggs,   and his Middle Belt strategy which produced leaders like Dokotri and J S Tarka. Many Igbos like Chinua Achebe would tell you that the Biafrans lost to Nigeria because Awolowo had nudged Yakubu Gowon to stop sending lorry loads of food to the rebels . They would not you his other reasons. That was part of it, but the "coup de grace " was the sudden creation of 12 states in Nigeria and the change of the Nigerian Currency both of which Obafemi Awolowo had  master-minded.

That move immediately took away from the Biafrans their only access to the Sea for supply of weapons and food supply. They immediately lost the loyalty of the Rivers and Cross River States as minorities in the Southeast. It was only a question of time before the Biafrans threw up their hands in surrender and it will be recalled that the General   who surrendered to Yakubu Gowon after the rebel  leader had fled to Ivory Coast to avoid capture and possible execution by firing squad was Philip Effiong from Cross River. These are the facts that nobody could sweep under the carpet.Who says the northerners are inferior to the southerners? The black scorpion Benjamin Ade kunle and Olusegun Obasanjo as commanding officers of the Third Marine Commando did all the heavy lifting in that war, but who took the final credit. It was Yakubu Gowon as Head of State.

Who says the southerners are superior   to the northerners? Once Nigerian returned to civilian rule in 1979 who took over as President? It was Shehu Shagari. After that came Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida, Sani Abacha and Abdulsalam Abubakar who took over again by subterfuge and ruled till 1999 following a hand-over of power to Olusegun Obasanjo as a civilian President. You could say it was the North again that returned to power  because it was all the northern military officers now in the PDP like IBB and Theophilus Danjuma and David Mark to mention a few   who put Obasanjo back in power   by fire and by force. Obasanjo had lost in a landslide to Oluyemi Falae of Akure in the Southwest in 1999.

Obasanjo spent his first term as a civilian President from 2009 to 2003 allowing Atiku Abubakar his Deputy to be the “de facto” ruler of Nigeria because he knew how he got the job. He could not have lasted one day in that job without the support of the North. Who says the northerners are inferior to the Southerners?   The northerners are the greates t administrators and diplomats in Nigeria second only to our British colonial masters.

Did any of you reading this remember how long the Petroleum Ministry had been the exclusive preserve of the northerners but for the short time of Buhari as Head of State   when Professor Tam David West temporarily took charge. The longest serving oil minister of Nigeria was Rilwanu Lukman and he was a force to reckon with at the OPEC cartel for years. Who says the northerners don’t know what they are doing? They sure do, if you ask me.

When the 12 states were created in Nigeria in 1967 or thereabout, it was 6 states in the South and 6 in the North. The North quickly saw their mistake   and  they went ahead to increase the number to 19 states  with 10 in the North and 9 from the South. I .B .B came and he added his own. Then Sani Abacha came and added his own. Today the North has 19 states while the South has 17. Even the Federal territory   which was supposed to be a no man’s land, is now operating pretty much like a autonomous state on her own. The relocation of the capital from Lagos to Abuja supposedly for traffic jam was a masterstroke by the North to make sure that the Nigerian capital is shifted to the North so more development can move to the North. Who says the Northerners   are inferior to the Southerners? Anybody saying that has to be suffering from Myopia. The North has always been in the forefront of wisdom despite their disadvantage in education when Nigeria became independent on October 1, 1960.

What  about the creation of 776 Local Governments   in Nigeria   with the majority of them  in the North? So much of the Revenues from the Federal Government has to be going to the North whether or   we like it or not. Who say the Northerners   are inferior to the Southerners? Kano State at one point in Nigeria used to have  44 Local Governments and Jigawa State which was carved out from Kano had another 22 Local Governments making a total of 68 Local Governments in Kano alone. Lagos the most populated state in Lagos with no less than 12 million or close had only 2o Local Governments even while a Yoruba man, Obasanjo was President.

Governor Abubakar Umar in July 2008 made a revelation  I would never forget that   there was no less than 43 or 44 Local Governments in Kano. Each of the Local Governments used to pay 2 million Naira per month  in salary to the great Emir of Kano. He put the total earnings of the Emir from that source alone to about 1,032 billion Naira a year and he concluded that all of that cash come from the oil revenue coming from the Niger Delta. I cannot think of any traditional ruler in the South including the Ooni or the Obi of Onitsha or even the Oba of Benin or the Alaafin of Oyo who are being paid salaries from all of the Local Governments created from their domain. I do know that The Deji of Akure only receives salary or allowances from Akure South Local Government. Akure North Local Government is already claiming total autonomy from the Deji and the Kabiyesi the Alaiyede of Ogbese is currently fighting to take Alayere village from Akure saying the Deji’s authority does not extend to that Local Government. Can anybody ever tell the Emir of Kano or the Sultan of Sokoto or the Emir of Daura or the Shehu of Bornu or the Tor Tiv or the Emir of Ilorin that. That is Nigeria for you. Who says the northerners are inferior to the southerners?

Now back to Lamido Sanusi as I put finishing touches to this article. I can fully   understand Lamido Sanusi telling Nigerians he was not going to Court to ask for a return to the Central Bank even if he wins in Court which is likely. Can you blame the prince charming who may well be the next successor to his paternal  uncle Ado Bayero   as the next Emir of Kano. He does not need the Central Bank to be the best he can be in Nigeria. His future is guaranteed if he lives long enough.   If he beats  President Jonathan in Court, he would automatically become one of the most eligible candidates that the Opposition Party the A .P .C could be rooting for in 2015. It is either the Emir of Kano or the President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria. Mark my words.

Who says the northerners are inferior to the Southerners? Right now I can think of the North as having more presidential materials than the South if the elections are being held today. I listen to El Rufai talk on TV or Lamido Sanusi or Jerry Gana or the young man called Ribadu, the former Chairman of EFCC or Balarabe Musa and one Professor Yadudu of Ahmadu Bello University or Professor Jega flaunt their credentials for high office in Nigeria in total amazement. The current generation of northerners is a far cry from most of the past generation I cannot help but wonder how far the North has come. Any of these individuals could be President of Nigeria any day and they have the credentials to do a good job given the current needs of Nigeria, a nation wallowing in abject poverty and Corruption in high places in the midst of plenty.

I’d rather not jump the gun yet until I see the outcome of Lamido Sanusi’s litigation against President Jonathan. I would like to know which of them wil l still have a leg to stand after the outcome of that litigation.

Need I say more?

I rest my case.

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