SANUSI AND THE TRAGEDY OF INTELLECTUAL SNOBBERY
That suspended Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, is an intellectual snob is as clear as the Coat of Arms on all naira notes for everyone to see.
What should equally be clear is that this intellectual snobbery is the hubris of a man who had the potential of being one of Nigeria's finest minds in public service.
From first asserting that the charges of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) against him were baseless fabrications, Sanusi has finally descended from his high horse to offer less than satisfactory explanations of his misdeeds at the CBN.
And, in so doing, he has completely shattered the imaginary halo of forthright crusader for accountability which he thought he had.
Rarely has a man so conclusively debased himself before the people.
And no one has captured this self-debasement better than Pius Adesanmi whose 'Seeking Intervention Funds to Seal Sanusi Lamido Sanusi's Lips' appeared on the Sahara Reporters website recently.
To be clear, the unacceptable or, as Adesanmi puts it, 'pedestrian and shoddy reasoning,' which Sanusi offers as his defence for his financial recklessness at the CBN is indicative of how intellectual snobbery has robbed the suspended CBN governor of the ability to discern what is acceptable conduct in public office and what is not.
To argue, as Sanusi does, that he spent public funds recklessly because President Goodluck Jonathan told him verbally to do so, or that he did it in his understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) is further indication of how much he holds Nigerians in contempt.
The major thrust of Sanusi's argument, when reduced to its clearest rendition, amounts to something in the vein of: I spent the money the way I spent it because I'm wiser than the rest of you; so, instead of asking me stupid questions, you should be thanking me.
And if anyone is in doubt that Sanusi truly believes he is wiser than the rest of us, let the person look up the records and see how Sanusi indecorously dismissed President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's Seven-Point Agenda at his Senate screening exercise back in June 2009.
In many other countries, especially those in the West that Nigerians like to look up to, the president would have immediately withdrawn Sanusi's nomination.
Whether Sanusi was right in stating at that time that the country needed a two or three-point agenda, and not the Seven-Point Agenda being pursued by the president is not the issue.
The issue is that he went to the Senate and made statements that portrayed the late president as incompetent or not knowledgeable enough when he could have discussed his reservations with the president in private.
This tendency to put others down and appropriate all knowledge to himself is a hallmark of Sanusi's arrogant character and the most visible evidence of his intellectual snobbery.
Unfortunately, being intellectually superior-which is debatable in any case-did not save Sanusi from exhibiting poor judgement in running the affairs of the CBN.
And now it is clearly impeding him from appreciating that the path back to grace is to own up to his mistakes, apologise to the Nigerian people whom he has consistently misled, and face the legal consequences of his misdeeds.
It is unlikely that Sanusi will ever have the humility to admit that he bungled the opportunity to serve with distinction at the CBN.
For, in the words of Adesanmi, 'Any student of Sanusi would have no trouble reaching the conclusion that the man mixes arrogance with the brightest kid in the classroom syndrome.
' It is this 'brightest kid in the classroom syndrome' that Adesanmi describes as 'the greatest enemy of humility.
' And without humility, Sanusi will never appreciate the tragedy that his intellectual snobbery has made of his story in public service.
Sanusi's path to humility is further hampered by other former and serving public servants like his friend, former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Nasir el-Rufai, and Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola.
These men continue supporting him even when it is clear that Sanusi, in admitting he spent hundreds of billions of naira without appropriation, has no moral right to speak to Nigerians on any issue.
El-Rufai himself, as all discerning Nigerians can tell, is another hostage of the 'brightest kid in the classroom syndrome.
' And, increasingly, Fashola, as he finally crawls out from under Bola Tinubu's shadow, is manifesting signs of suffering from the syndrome as well.
With such friends, Sanusi has little hope of finding the humility to ask Nigerians to forgive his sins.
And therein lies the greater tragedy.
For nobody doubts that Sanusi-and it must be said, el-Rufai and Fashola as well-can still be useful to the Nigerian project.
But the path to redemption for Sanusi begins not with his admittedly expansive learning, but with plain common sense: admitting that he cannot possibly know it all at every point in time.
Moreover, with the overwhelming evidence before the whole country that Sanusi showed poor judgement in handling the affairs of the CBN, it bears repeating that the least the man can do is to own up to his blunders, apologise to all Nigerians, and face the consequences of his transgressions.
Only then can Sanusi begin the journey on the path of redemption.
Written By John Ainofenokhai [email protected]