CBN AUTONOMY AND NIGERIAN POLITICIANS
'Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem'. - Ronald W. Regan, in his inaugural address as 40th President of the United States. More than three decades have passed since Ronald Regan made that statement.
At that time, the United States faced a colossal challenge - 'an economic affliction of great proportions', Regan called it. 'We suffer from the longest and one of the worst sustained inflations in our national history,' he explained. 'For decades we piled deficits upon deficits, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.'
Ronald Regan's statement described government as problem itself; not necessarily, because he was anti-government, some of our present-day politicians have decided to constitute themselves into problems, instead of solutions to the myriads of the national challenges demanding their attention.
The recent move by the National Assembly members to amend CBN Act of 2007, in order to strip Central Bank of Nigeria its independence leaves so much to be desired! The National Assembly members started pushing for the withdrawal of CBN's autonomy through the amendment of CBN's Act, 2007, not necessarily, because they are against CBN as an institution, but they want to tame the roaring lion called Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Danmaje Kano.
Before I proceed, I will like to ask some pertinent questions: can they (National Assembly members) throw out the baby with the bad water? Can they sink a whole ship, because one of the crew members is excising so much power? Can they destroy an institution that is older than some of them just because; they want to neutralize the influence of a single individual?
Would they crash an entire aircraft with all the passengers on board, because the pilot of the plane is putting on his chieftaincy attire while on duty? Would they jeopardize the entire economy, because they want to break the all-time world record Usain Bolt has set in this egoistic marathon they have embark upon with Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi?
These pertinent questions are begging; longing and yeaning for answers. The Central Bank of Nigeria was established by the CBN Act of 1958 and commenced operations on July 1, 1959, is modeled after Reserve Bank of United States of America and Bank of England in Britain.
However, unlike Nigeria, in advanced economies such as Germany, France, USA, and other parts of Europe, the system is so sophisticated that things almost run on autopilot without government interference in the procedures and processes of the bank.
President of the United States of America in his visit to Africa made a Million-dollar statement in Ghana, when he said that, 'Africa needs strong institutions to succeed; not strong individuals.' Can politicians in this side of the clime called Nigeria learn from this thunderous and heroic statement?
Can the National Assembly members understand that it is better to use the powers of law making repose on them by the 1999 constitution (as amended) to make our weak institutions to be stronger than any individual can manipulate, rather than trying to weaken the already strong institution like CBN just because; they want whittle down the influence of a perceived stronger individual called Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Dan maje Kano.
The same scenario played out in United States of America last year between President Barack Obama and GOP (Republicans),when President Obama wanted to lift the tap of the debt ceiling to enable him borrow money in order to keep the US economy afloat by increasing US debt ceiling, but the Republican members of parliament, like their Nigerian counterpart, decided to place their myopic political interest above national and international interest by holding President Obama and the entire world economy to ransom, but later gave in few hours before the previous debt ceiling could have been exhausted to avoid what could have triggered another world economic crisis if US had failed to continue paying its bills as a result of the unwarranted political horse-trading between President Obama and power-drunk Republicans.
A simple political interest could have sent the entire world economy on fire, because anything that happens to US economy as the largest world economy could have sent other smaller economies crumbling.
It is high time Nigerian politicians started learning that; it is better to place national interest above personal and political interests rather than falling to the temptation of mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present as stated by Ronald Regan; 'For decades we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the president.'
Imaging a situation where the new bill is suggesting that the CBN Governor will be removed as the Chairman of the Board of the Bank and Deputy Governors and Directors of apex bank will be excluded as members of the Board of the bank and mandate CBN to be submitting its annual budget to the National Assembly for effective scrutiny.
'Let us come to think of it; if the National Assembly removes the Governor of the apex bank from being the chairman of the bank's board, are they going to recommend the appointment of new neophyte-drunkard who is a PDP stakeholder to come and head the bank's board as it is being done in other corruption-ridden Board of government parastatals and agencies?
Are they going to appoint those thugs who rigged election for them to come and be members of an economic sensitive board like CBN's board as a way of paying them back? Are they going to select those who know nothing about the dynamics of economics to come and run down the economy via CBN? Your guess is as good as mine!
Like what formal Greek Prime Minister, George P. said that, 'a politician is a stakeholder who puts his nation to the service of himself; while a statesman is a politician who puts himself to the service of his nation.'
It is left for our National Assembly members to decide whether they want to go down in the history books as statesmen by putting the interest of the nation and generation yet unborn above their own personal and political interest or condemn themselves to the abyss of history by placing their parochial interest above national economic interest.
Embarking on a wild goose chase of amending CBN's 2007 Act, is like embarking on a visionless journey without a clearly defined destination in mind, because; 'mission without a vision is an illusion; vision without a mission is a confusion.'
- Chidiebere is national president, Progressive Youths for Change