By Abdullahi Tahir
What does one say about a man who is often full of himself and seeks undue relevance? What personality disorder is that called? Sanusi Lamido will not be the first and last false prophet of doom to talk about a Nigeria that will break or disintegrate. His forebears foresaw a disunited Nigeria before 2015. The year came to pass and the country is still one. Unsatisfied, Sanusi and his cohorts, from within and outside, are at it again. This time, Sanusi is trying, without any mandate, to declare fatwa on beloved country. According to him, Nigeria is on the brink or “living on extra time”. As a fortune teller or seer that he has become, he did not see his dethronement and banishment. But he is so pessimistic to see a collapsed nation.
When looking for a typical illustration of a hypocrite, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi fits the description perfectly. Sanusi has carved a niche for attacking and throwing tantrums against authorities to attract attention and sympathy to himself while covering up his antecedents of self-glorification, imprudence and perceived corruption. His entrance into limelight came after he got appointed as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2009 to serve under the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. He was to descend on the President at any given opportunity.
As a seasoned economist and financial analyst, presenting an astute persona, Sanusi was quick to warm his way into the hearts of Nigerians who believed his wealth of experience would transform the country to a world class economy. Unbeknown to many, behind the eloquent exuberance and adornment of bespoke outfits, lies a controversial figure and intellectual nuisance who craves attention by inciting the public. Like the proverbial phrase that says “time reveals all things”, Sanusi’s actual character gradually unveiled with time. Sanusi is a loose cannon. He shoots without aiming. He is an unpatriotic citizen who continues to hurl baseless criticism against authorities even when he is part of it.
In the Jonathan era and under this administration, his condemnations were a defence against allegations of misconduct and abuse of office during his tenure as CBN Governor and Emir of Kano, both positions in which he was disgraced and shown the way out. It is widely known that under the Jonathan administration, he operated the CBN like his personal venture and allegedly committed humongous financial atrocities. Report of a panel set up in 2014 to probe him noted that Sanusi was indicted for being fraudulent, reckless and wasteful. He was fingered in the missing N38bn by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria in April 2013. The money was said to have been paid to Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Press, a subsidiary of the CBN. However, MINT account showed no evidence of such transaction. Between 2011 and 2012, he supposedly expended the outrageous sum of N5.3bn on legal and professional fees, private guards, lunch for security aides and promotional activities. Mr Saint indeed.
Accusations of recruiting staff into the CBN without following due process were also leveled against him. According to PremiumTimes report of 31 March, 2014, Sanusi was further suspected by Federal Government of being one of the financiers of boko haram terrorism in the country. This culture of impunity was quick to attract a query from the then government. Rather than answer to his financial impropriety and terrorism financing, he hastily went on the offensive and began making inconsistent public statements about financial indiscretions in the NNPC. After his disgraceful exit from the CBN and as trademark of his character, he cunningly lobbied his way to become the Emir of Kano to escape prosecution for his “crimes”. Sanusi was never a qualified candidate for the throne. Some quarters believe he (un)wittingly had long began scheming his way into the Kano emirate when he suspectedly arranged for Boko Haram members to attack the former Emir, Alhaji Ado Bayero who later died after succumbing to the injuries he sustained.
Sanusi of course, brought immense pressure on the Emir. He brought him to Abuja to support the third term bid of then President Obasanjo, a reason the ordinary Kano people, for the first time, stoned their Emir or his convoy. He never hid his likeness for the seat of the Emir and became desperate to occupy it even while the incumbent was alive. The Emir eventually died from mental harassment suffered from Sanusi. In connivance with Rabiu Kwankwaso and Abdullahi Ganduje both of whom, for political exigency, installed him as Emir. The duo of Kwankwaso and Ganduje were Governor and Deputy Governor of Kano State. Against popular demand, they conspired to make Sanusi Emir. And same people, at least Ganduje undid Sanusi. They realised that Sanusi is a dog which does not know its owner. Friendship with Sanusi is like buying a wild cat for a pet.
Even as Emir, he lacked respect for due process and constitutional authority while desecrating traditional institutions. To show his double standard, Sanusi continues to advocate the culture of family planning among northerners. He also condemns polygamy. Meanwhile, he is married to four wives with thirteen children as at last count. He preaches against corruption but in less than three weeks after ascension as Emir, Sanusi was accused of embezzling at least N4bn from the Emirate Council coffers and squandered over N37m on recharge cards. He politicised the emirate and created unnecessary tensions in Kano State and divisions among the populace. This led to him being disgraced once again, dethroned and banished from the State. Though some of the issues are under litigation, it is not probable he would ever win in the court of public opinion even if he wins in the Court of law.
As proof that he does not care about the people he claims to serve, Sanusi chose Lagos, a cosmopolitan state outside the conservative North to enable him get close to his local and foreign hostile allies. Reason for his choice of Lagos instead of Loko LGA of Nasarawa State where he is banished in disregard of customary rites daily manifests. It is obvious he is partisan. His public utterances betray him. He seeks to be among Lagos Big Boys as well as power brokers in the country. His preoccupation is to install a President of a South West extraction and he is assiduously working for this.
In his unending quest for power, influence and relevance, Sanusi again shamelessly bribed his way into becoming the leader of the Tijjaniyya sect in Nigeria and continues to appear in the full regalia of Emir and addresses himself as one. Luckily, the Tijjaniyya sect knows who its real leader is. Adorning the outfit of an Emir exemplifies his disrespect for the people. An insensitive man, Sanusi appears in full regalia of a sitting Emir simply to deceive the unsuspecting public. Deposed and banished, how does he think he can return to Kano to reclaim the seat? Kano people are not lily livered. And Sanusi knows he cannot test their resolve. Only a highly hallucinating person like Sanusi will decide to live in his dream world. Sanusi and his Hallucinations!
Sanusi is not the only Emir to have been deposed and banished. His grandfather was deposed. Then Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki and Emirs of Muri and Gwandu were once deposed and banished. They took it in good faith. Faced with their fate, they never constituted a nuisance as Sanusi has. They went about their normal businesses and did not incite the public against constituted authorities. They never sought to go back to their thrones. Sanusi’s desperation to sneak into Kano is an aberration. Why does he want to destabilise Kano? Is it a task from his Lagos sponsors so the authorities can be marked as failed.
Those who come to equity must do so with clean hands. While citizens have the right to advise and criticise, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi lacks that moral ground. Where the Judicial system works, Sanusi would be in jail serving time for his crimes. Rather, he continues to play victim by skewing narratives that project him as virtuous to divert attention from his indecorous personality. If Nigeria is on the brink, distressed, sinking or living on borrowed time, Sanusi and his wasteful lifestyle contributed immensely to it. Sanusi should do a soul searching and change for good, as a good Muslim, Sanusi should accept his fate and imbibe the teachings of Islam. He should adhere to the admonition of Quran that God gives power to whom He wishes and takes it away from whom He wants. Mallam Sanusi wake up and stop hallucinating.
Abdullahi Tahir, a public affairs commentator writes from Kano.