By Austine Uche-Ejeke
The news of the suspension of a probe panel into the financial activities of Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi came to many Nigerians as rude shock of unquantifiable proportion.
Their grouse is predicated on the fact that a government that is basking in the euphoria of fighting corruption should have used that singular probe to make a deafening statement of not been partial in its prosecution of war against corruption and that it is ready to step on toes no matter how holy or royal that toes may look.
The person and position of Sanusi in Nigerian political landscape is not what people will start questioning of its prominence or relevance. But for the avoidance of doubt and clarity sake, Sanusi was the once vibrant, vociferous, no-nonsense Central Bank Governor that brought a whole lot of radical and ideological reforms in the banking sector. The efficacy or relevance of those reforms is better left for posterity to assess and pass judgment later. The crux of this exercise particularly as it relates to the origin and quest for a probe on a whole foremost Northern traditional ruler. This is of a great concern to discerning minds.
For people that know Sanusi he is the kind of restless radical that does not keep quiet in the face abnormalities. Nigerians remember with nostalgia the “internecine war” the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan fought with him as a result of his outspokenness. It was Sanusi that officially introduced and incorporated the art and science of whistle blowing in the country. He alleged that the government in which he was serving as CBN Governor masterminded the missing of about $20 Billion oil money via the country’s NNPC. Not done with controversy, it was same Sanusi that singe-handedly donated billions of naira to Bayero University after an insurgency attack while he was still serving as CBN Governor. It was in the midst of these that he was relieved of his job as CBN governor.
After exiting the CBN he was crowned as the Emir of Kano in a context that was characterized by acrimonious fight and controversy. Having ascended the throne of his forefathers Sanusi has not kept quiet as he still lends his voice to various wrong doings in the polity. It was Sanusi that revealed to Nigerians that the country operates about four exchange rate regimes for the all powerful dollar. The juice of the revelation according to him is that some people particularly northern elites and kings buy dollar at N197 at the comfort of their home and sell it at N400, thus making some billionaires by doing next to nothing.
As that is not enough Sanusi has been consistently attacking the extant government and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on some of the policies and actions that are not in tandem with good governance. He has not spared the governors particularly northern governors who he accused of giving prominence to religion and other mundane issues instead of education and development projects that will liberate their state and region from abject poverty and penury. Nigerians are not quick to forget the unkindest cut Sanusi meted out to Zamfara State Governor Yari when the governor said that meningitis was caused by fornication.
On several occasions, he has received hard tackles from the federal government, northern state governors and even northern elites who he has not spared.
At a stage, many Nigerians were hailing and praising Sanusi as the vociferous conscience of the nation. This is simply by open admiration of the way and manner he speaks out against the ills of the society. Expectedly somebody that pontificates in such manner suppose to live above the board just like Ceasar’s wife. This is going by the aphorism that he who lives in glass house do not throw stones any how.
Thus, Nigerians were taken aback on the revelation that same Sanusi that has been shouting corruption in government quarters may not be after all be clean in the real sense of the word. Feelers from Kano state government and in fact Kano Emirate indicate misappropriation of billions of naira under the care of the revered Emir. It is believed in some quarters that the charges against Sanusi are dumb folding and earth shaking. At the last count, it was alleged that Sanusi has expended close to N5 billion in just three years of ascendency of the throne.
Account has it the mouthy Emir burns millions of naira on air time credit just to make calls on monthly basis. These are funds that are meant for the development of the good people of Kano state. But instead of him contributing to the development of his subjects, the Emir has used up the funds in questionable projects and personal aggrandizement. Those that are making these allegations are hitting their chest that they have iron-cast evidence that comes in form of incontrovertible bank documents to prove monthly deductions and withdrawals by the Kano Emir.
As Nigerians were hoping to see the full details of these revelations they instead jostled and further served shock dosage when an executive order came from above that placed suspension of the probe. Those that are said to be behind the procurement of the stoppage of the probe include Sultan of Sokoto, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of House of House of Representative Yakubu Dogara, Aminu Dantata, Aliko Dangote and even the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo. If there is any individual that should have insisted on this probe that person should have been Osinbajo knowing full well that credible prosecution of the war against corruption which this administration is hinged would have made political gain with successful prosecution of the Sanusi probe.
Nigerians are embittered that such revelation of corruption and misappropriation of public fund by a supposedly puritan Emir should not have been swept under the carpet. They are of the view that the probe panel should have been allowed to run its full course of either vindicating or indicting Sanusi. Furthering their astonishment is that the once vociferous Emir has suddenly gone dump and no longer talking as he is used to before. They expected the highly cerebral, tough talking and revered Emir to talk and insist on the probe panel concluding its assignment and set the record straight. This will even make a case for some of his supporters who are seeing the probe panel as witch hunt for the outspokenness of the Emir.
Be that as it may the hurried suspension of the probe panel to look into the financial recklessness of Emir of Kano will in the long run not do this administration and indeed the country any good at all, particularly in a regime that revels and prides as having fight against corruption as its cardinal selling point. It will forever hunt this government if at the end of the day the good people of Kano and indeed Nigerians are not told the outcome of the accusation of disappearance of their money by an Emir who is supposed to be not only the chief custodian of their culture and tradition but also a sole gate keeper of their common patrimony.
Austine Uche-Ejeke, a public affairs analyst, is Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Agenda Community Newspaper. He can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org
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