Sanusi is down, but by no means out, By Garba Shehu

CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi

Sanusi’s tenure at the CBN seems a blessing to end the stealing of crude oil and derivable revenues, which has now reached an all-time high

These days, the outgoing Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, reminds you of many of the life lessons taught by the famous Hausa author, Dr. Abubakar Imam.

In his classic series “Magana Jari ce” (speech is an asset or golden) Imam wrote the parable of the Stork (Gauraka) and the tortoise. The Stork is a large wading bird with very long legs and long stout pointed beak with a black and white plumage. The Storks are migratory.

They follow the season and tend to live in drier habitats. They fly high, covering long distances in search of their pasture, which is made up mostly of fish, frogs, worms and small birds. In the course of one of their stops, they developed strong acquaintance with a tortoise with which they shared a common habitat. When it was time to move on, tortoise said it couldn’t bear to miss the stork and so it would rather go with them. The storks said, “We feel the same way about you but you see, we fly, and you are terrestrial. You can’t do the same. In addition you have no such hands or claws to help clasp at just anything”.

Upon the relentless persistence of the tortoise, two of the stork said to it, “Here is how we can take you with us: we will hold a stick at both ends to our feet. You hold on to it with your teeth. Whatever you see or hear, don’t talk. Once your mouth releases the stick, you will obviously crash from the flight”. The journey went on smoothly until an incident happened as they flew over a crowded market. Traders there had abandoned their wares looking up at the amazing sight of a tortoise hanging on to a stick by its teeth, flown on a stick held on both ends by storks. Traders were saying to one another “come, come and see the unimaginable!” Tortoise decided to join the conversation at this stage, telling the crowd to stop being silly and mind their businesses. As the tortoise opened its mouth to talk, it lost its hold on the stick, hurtling to the ground. The fall was so hard that it broke into pieces upon impact.

Dr. Imam’s lesson in this parable and its well-chosen title was “learn to rule the world with your mouth before learning to do so with both hands.”

Governor Lamido Sanusi will not have a hard fall and by God’s mercy, his story will have a happy ending. It will have a happy ending because the latest quarrels he has picked against the increasingly unpopular administration are the peoples’ battles.

In a country like Nigeria where politics is inseparable with religion and religion not too different from politics, citizens of all backgrounds are praying that providence forgives Sanusi for his minor sins, and save him to finish this last fight in one piece. A larcenous character in a popular movie remarked that he liked to commit crime and God liked to forgive so the universe is very well arranged.

As we all clap him out of the stage and praise his courage in taking our common battle to an unscrupulous national oil corporation and a government, which opposition leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu creatively and constructively criticized for turning the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC into their own “ATM”, Sanusi would need to learn to govern with his mouth well if he will be a successful Emir or whatever it is that will be his next destination.

Experts in the field of communications talk about a peculiar affliction called over-speaking. Whenever I read Sanusi in his often-controversial outbursts, I lamented within myself if he was not a victim of this bug. I once wrote here that the Governor of Central Bank of England was rarely heard or seen. The world’s entire financial system, not only that of the U.K., braced up for him whenever there’s the hint that he would open up, which he rarely did. In the case of our out-going governor, the suggestion I have is that communications scholars will do a service to the industry by ascertaining who, between Sanusi and the Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum, has most incidences of front-page appearances in our daily newspapers.

When I saw him stand before the Senate Committee of the whole defending his nomination for the position of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, he launched an unprecedented attack on the strategic objectives of the government that put him forward for the job. Do you remember him saying that the Seven-point agenda of the Yar’Adua government were too many and needed to be cut to two or three? Many, like me, must have reasoned that Sanusi was lucky to have had a calm, tolerant boss as the late President. Obasanjo would have asked the Senate to stop the screening at that stage and ask for time to present a fresh nominee.

But like a heaven-sent boon, Sanusi’s tenure at the CBN may turn out to be that blessing we yearned for to end the stealing of crude oil and derivable revenues, which has now reached an all-time high.


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