Figure joggling: What is wrong with Sanusi?
By Mustapha Abdullahi
At the risk of being labelled an alarmist, it is surprising that none of our top government officials has thought it necessary to suggest that the Central Bank governor be asked to go for some kind of evaluation over his recent tendencies to want to cause maximum damage to the economy now that he is leaving office.
It is either he is afraid that as soon as he steps aside, a lot will come to the fore to rubbish him; or he is employing the el Rufai/Fani-kayode strategy of appearing to be an activist so that any attempt to pick on him later would look like he is being targeted for his role as a critic of government.
What his petulant garrulity has shown thus far is that he is being fed false information to either make him look bad, or he is being clever by half using incomplete information to achieve a pre-determined purpose. To think that a man like him, who perhaps does not think fully before making claims, wants to be the Emir of our Kano is so scary that it is not out of place to suggest he be asked to go to the House of Representatives where careless renditions are fashionable.
Since he has decided to be less than royal with the way he talks, he should not be allowed anywhere near the royal throne, but remain instead within the realm of politics where he appears well cut out for. In fact, Rabiu Kwankwaso should be persuaded to create the enabling environment for the 37th governor of the Nigerian state.
This writer does not believe that that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is as innocent as they sweat to make the rest of us believe of their handling of the country's oil resources, because no corporation handling oil resources anywhere in the world can ever be innocent; but it is not in the place of the Central Bank chief of any country to mount the soapbox to do what our own is doing with impunity because the Senate, which he has had cause to rubbish in the past, and will still rubbish when he leaves office in a short while, is protecting him from getting the boot.
Though it is his lifetime dream to be Emir, but it shall not come to pass, Insha Allah. The throne requires a measure of decorum that comes from a comprehensive knowledge of the requirements of Allah, and this one does not fit the bill, so he should remain with his fellow power mongers on the political turf. Maybe, a look at his recent controversy with the NNPC will show that this man cannot be trusted with power either at the senatorial or governorship level.
First he said $49.8 billion was
missing because of NNPC's mismanagement of oil money. But confronted with superior information, with his restless tail in-between his legs, he agreed it was actually $10.8 billion. He did this looking like a recalcitrant child with two mothers of the house peering down at him. Women did that to an Emir to be!
Apparently trying to fight back for
the humiliating disgrace, he showed up at the Senate to throw a higher figure of a missing $20 billion, while his pitiable deputy governors, directors and other senior staff members looked on as the same two mothers (Okonjo-Iweala and Allison-Madueke), joined this time by the NNPC boss, Andrew Yakubu, and others continue to work at making a mess of whatever reputation he had left.
It got to a point that the Chairman of
the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, stopped short of shutting the bank boss up for overstepping his bounds. The CBN boss
said: 'PPRA says it is okay with
the claims on kerosene. It is the agency that is legitimately authorised to certify claims on kerosene subsidy and it is saying that kerosene subsidy is okay, it is legal and it is allowed. That is the agency that has the responsibility but I do have a letter from PPRA in 2010 telling me that they do not pay kerosene subsidy based on presidential directives.' Senator Makarfi, however, told the CBN to restrict itself to what it was legally empowered to do. He said, 'Forget about whether subsidy is budgeted for or not, that is for us, as the legislature to actually address. What we are talking about, as you have said before that the legal authority that drives subsidy is PPPRA, they have now brought us a certification of $8.9 billion; if that is their position, irrespective of the opinion expressed by the Ministry of Finance, do you, as CBN governor, accept such?' It is not necessary to go into other details, but it appears obvious that if this man is not called to order, what happened decades ago to one of his forebears is about to repeat itself in this generation, and it behoves every Kano person of repute to stop it by calling our son back to his senses.
It is true that a forensic audit is to
be commissioned either by the Finance Ministry or the Senate, and it is clear that NNPC will not escape unscathed, but the Kano prince must be saved, because going by what Okonjo-Iweala said towards the end of the Senate imbroglio, our man may end up being dragged in the mud.
According to Okonjo-Iweala, 'Let me
just make a few points, based on what is raised. First of all, I was not in office in 2009, neither was I the minister who felt that action should be stayed at that time. I simply gave you what I thought would be the reason, based on what has happened since then. But I would hasten to add that when a presidential order is given, either to remove subsidy or to impose it, it is not law until it is in the gazette. There is no gazette to that effect. At least, we have not found one,' she added.
She said further while reacting to a
comment by a Senator 'On the statement by a member of the committee that the finances of the country are in a mess, I will like the distinguished senator to make a difference. The finances of the country that come into the budget have been managed very transparently to the point that the budget of the country is so detailed that people can tell how much is spent in the State House to buy forks and knives. Even if they don't like it, they have the information and we should be proud of that as a country. There is no country, from my experience of over 60 countries, that have the details released by the budget office of this country.
'On the oil finances, what is being
said here is made to look as if there is no accountability and that is not the case. For two steady years, at the FAAC meeting, the Ministry of Finance ensured that the accounts of the country are transparently laid and every commissioner knows the details, they have their folders. It is as a result of the reconciliation that we arrived at $10.8 billion that everybody is now talking about. When CBN spoke about $49.8 billion, we were the first to say it's not correct. After that, it was proven that $49.8 billion was not the right amount. The CBN had the courage to admit that it was actually $10.8 billion.
'It was the process employed by the
Ministry of Finance that brought about that. Without the steady work we have done to perfect the finances of this country, we won't be talking about $10.8 billion. The issue is that: where is that money? How is it being accounted for? We have led the process. We asked both the NNPC and the PPPRA to produce their documents and they had produced certified copies for the $10.8 billion and we have asked for an independent audit. A lot of accusations are being made in this country and the only way to be satisfied is to have an independent audit.'
What Okonjo-Iweala did not say is
this: 'Our CBN Governor is busy running his mouth and giving everybody a bad name the way a man of his office and standing should not do, and it is about time people like him and the careless talking Senator (from Kwara) making that remark should be exposed for their less than ethical remarks on public funds management in the public domain. We know he (Sanusi) wants to prove that the letter he wrote to the President is right, but he is not completely right, quoting bogus figures. Someone should be bold enough to tell him to shut up.'
* Abdullahi sent this piece from Abuja.