SANUSI AND THE BURDEN OF BEING A PRINCE
Niccolò Machiavelli, the renowned Italian political philosopher, observed in The Prince-his treatise on realist political theory-that, 'It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles.
' Being himself a well-read prince, albeit one with a tendency to offer precipitate views on matters within and outside his purview, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, a Kano prince and the outgoing Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, should be conversant with Machiavelli's observation.
But if his actions over the course of his soon-to-elapse tenure as CBN governor are any indication, Sanusi appears not to have grasped the import of Machiavelli's point.
Besides his ill-advised yet well-publicised craving for the throne of the Emir of Kano, Sanusi has failed to show the circumspection expected of a prince and a country's central banker.
Not only has he politicised the apex bank by making indiscriminate pronouncements on a wide range of issues often unrelated to his job description, he has engaged in imprudent donations that has absolutely nothing to do with the CBN's role.
In so doing, he has not only diminished his office, he has, in effect, dishonoured it.
A news story titled 'Presidency Queries Sanusi over Donations', which appeared in a popular national daily recently, indicates that the Federal Government is concerned about Sanusi's failings and has decided to hold him to account.
This is as it should be for a country where public officials-no matter how highly placed-carry on with impunity is a country where the rule of law has ceased to exist.
And without doubt, in his actions and utterances, Sanusi has carried on with an arrogant air of imperial impunity.
A part of the newspaper report reads: 'The CBN governor was accused of donating about N150 billion to some institutions and interest groups in states controlled by opposition political parties in what appears to be a clever way of channelling state funds to some politicians who in turn use them to attack the president and his government.
' The report went further to state that: 'The CBN governor has become more of a politician than a banker.
He delights in political circus shows in the company of opposition political figures, making statements unbecoming of his office.
' In addition, the report also added, 'The president has actually been very tolerant of these infractions in line with his personal convictions of allowing institutions operate their own independent checks on officers, but it appears the CBN governor is becoming a law unto himself.
' Indeed, not only has Sanusi conducted himself in a manner totally at variance with the dignity of the office he occupies, he has clearly allowed his personal quest to be turbanned Emir of Kano at any cost to be his singular guiding principle.
Or how else can one explain the belligerent posture that the outgoing CBN governor has chosen to conduct himself in relation to the government under which he serves? For instance, it is incongruous that Sanusi would rather play to the gallery of foreign media, as he did again in a recent interview with a newsmagazine based in the West, than resolve whatever differences he may have with his colleagues in the government he serves.
Moreover, what is truly sad and disheartening about his shenanigans is that undiscerning Nigerians may be misled into thinking that Sanusi has good intentions despite his cantankerous attitude.
But as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
And it makes no sense whatsoever for a man who should be helping build stability and the institutions of government to perpetually seek to undermine their credibility.
As things stand, the Federal Government needs to be firm in whatever sanctions it decides to visit on Sanusi if only to serve as a deterrent to all future CBN governors from turning the office to a political soapbox.
There is no other way to state this, but the truth remains that those who wish to crow about propriety must of necessity visit equity with clean hands.
For Sanusi himself, it is doubtful if the ignominious way in which he is bound to leave the CBN governor's office will teach him any relevant lessons, because although he is a prince who should know better, he is too used to doing things in his own imperious and disharmonious way to change for the better.
But then again perhaps this is the burden that Sanusi has to bear for being a stubborn prince.
As Machiavelli noted in The Prince, 'A man who is used to acting in one way never changes; he must come to ruin when the times, in changing, no longer are in harmony with his ways.
' Truly, Nigeria would be better for it if the full weight of the law is visited on Sanusi if he is found guilty of the infractions he has been accused of.
Written By Sylvester Okoro [email protected]