Friday, 14 March 2014

Base Politics

Base Politics
When President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in his presidential media chat a little over a fortnight ago, insisted that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the sacked CBN governor, was still the governor of the apex bank, one wonders if the president thought that Nigerians believed him or even took him seriously. Of course the president and his aides must have believed that they pulled a master stroke, given that they knew that the president had no powers to remove the governor, yet they went around it with a suspension and, technically speaking, the relevant laws are silent about that. But the whole world knows that it is fait accompli; even if the suspension is lifted, there is little expectation that Sanusi himself would accept to come back and finish his term. Look, the man is a Prince for goodness sake and princes do not suffer indignities lightly.
But Sanusi’s sack has again brought out the worst in us, most appalling of which is the reaction among many a northern element especially the Kano people. When news of the sack broke out, it was a very vociferous reaction from Kano in condemnation, with the governor of Kano State, Alh Musa Kwankwaso, himself stating before an angry crowd how that singular action of the president was an affront and a specific spite on the Kano people which they avow not to take lightly but will respond in due time; in 2015 very specifically, he assured, they will certainly to return the compliment.
However, by his very stellar performance at the apex bank, Sanusi proved his mettle: a sound intellectual, a progressive Nigerian, a courageous administrator who was ready to take on formidable blocs to right the system. He did that very eloquently by the very way he took on the top brass of the banking and finance sector as a whole, people who hitherto were untouchable, and rescued the sector. He brought back confidence to it and gradually things began to look up.  Through the policies he pursued, he earned respect for the nation’s financial sector from foreign players. He gave many Nigerians a reason to be proud internationally, for he showcased, once again, the intellectual power that abounds in Nigeria; he proved that Nigeria is capable of throwing up talented and courageous people onto the it leadership sphere who are worth their salt any day, anytime and anywhere. For whatever reason, the sack of Sanusi under the given circumstances was a national problem and not that for the Kano people of for any region alone for that matter. Therefore, for Kwankwanso and other northerners to take to whatever sectarian trenches to register their displeasure was a manifestation of how base politics have gone in Nigeria. To think that one like the Kano governor, with his national level exposure in leadership and the very wonderful work he is doing in his state, will be found in such dimensions of defining events in Nigeria is quite a travesty and indeed very telling.
The northerners are not alone in this. Many others, especially from other parts, and apparently enlightened too, have argued that a CBN governor should not raise any voice contrary to a government he is working under. They say that Sanusi should have resigned before blowing the whistle which, anyway, has turned out to clearly be his swansong irrespective of all pretensions. Such positions have been nothing but frustrating, and one asks, what is governance without checks and balances? The office of apex bank governor is not the same as that of a minister who, in Nigeria, has turned out to have to sheepishly do the bidding of the president.
Finally, amidst all the hue and cry, the national confab will take off next week if it does not suffer a similar fate as it did this week given that there are issues, as flippant as the lodging of the delegates, which are yet to be sorted out. Are Nigerians sure that, with such level of sectarianism and lack of goodwill that this country continues to see, the confab is going to birth resolutions capable of giving us the Nigeria or society we all look forward too?
PS: Last week, this column was published bearing the name of another writer. It was unforeseen; it tells you that even in this digital age, the printer’s devil is still very much raging.

(Published on BLUEPRINT Newspaper, Thur Mar 13, 2014)

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