Showing posts with label Lamido Sanusi Lamido. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lamido Sanusi Lamido. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 3, 2009



Sanusi Lamido Sanusi: A ‘sanitary officer’ to bank on for cleansing the stench in our banking stables

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, 48, has a strong mind. And he’s not afraid to open it up, especially to the clamourous clan of conspiracy theorists who rose up at the mention of his name, wielding prickly pens. But he has the last word on their tango: “Journalists and writers must respect the intelligence of their readers and understand that we read columns to be educated and not misled.” Fair enough. The naysayers have since realized they have a match in him.

At his inquisition-style confirmation hearing before the Senate for his suitability for the post of head of the Central Bank of Nigeria., CBN, SLS (it’s a close homonym of ‘excellence’), as he’s fondly called by friends and foes alike, took a swipe at the president’s hackneyed mantra of state of “7-point Agenda”; it is as effective, he surmised, as chasing after many rabbits. It was June 3, 2009; the apex legislative house would clear him to take up his presidential appointment.

And it was all in a day’s work for the lugubrious Big Man’s spokesperson who came out, nostrils flaring, with a retort to SLS. SLS would show he cared even less whose wrists were bloodied in the wake of the ‘bank-quake’ he set off on a very historic 14th day of August, 2009, which saw hitherto sacred cow topnotch bank executives booked for gross misconduct. That first wave swept away CEOs of one-fifth the Augean banking stables. He has sacked the president’s personal banker in the second wave of his decisive action taken to safeguard the financial sector from systemic collapse.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, SLS first took up university teaching before going on to become Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First Bank Plc, Nigeria's oldest bank and one of the biggest financial institutions in Africa. He was first Executive Director, Risk & Management Control, part of what commended for his latest assignment.

In Greek mythology, King Augeas’s stables had not been cleaned in 3 decades. Heracles got the unenviable task of cleaning them all in one day. He achieved the Herculean task by diverting two rivers through them. (Hercules is the Roman equivalent of the same sanitiser fellow.)

‘Augean’ is now an adjective for filthy fair, a dirty situation extremely difficult and unpleasant to handle--unless you possess know-how and are willing to use it to the best of your judgment. A second requirement is a tough skin.
Underneath the perfumed stench in the sector was a funny odour carried over from predecessor governor Charles Soludo’s consolidation drive; it had long been suspected that rot was rife in the sector.

More change would come to define things and the pace of things in the crucial sector. His call on the rarefied chambers of banking dons has now left many mantel place showpieces toppled, swept off their high horses. As the Yoruba of the Nigeria’s South-West say: The wind has ruffled feathers, now we can see the rump of the fowl.

Although Sanusi’s forebears are Fulani aristocrats from the North of the country, he’s never been far from Nigeria’s erstwhile federal and continuous financial capital. It was where he had his secondary education, at the elite yet egalitarian King's College, Lagos.

In a country where cleavages of religious and ethnic derivation always set pulses racing, his announcement that the Islamic banking model already ratified by his predecessor was ready for takeoff set off alarms. A highly conscientious Muslim, SLS uncharacteristically didn’t panic into a retreat on account of the seeming ‘conflict of interests’. He maintains his austere profile courageously as a ramrod posture under the fiery flurry of accusations of a ‘Northern agenda’ to take over banking in the country.

He’s made crystal clear the “need to strengthen” the regime of “consolidated supervision.” “It’s a learning point for regulators”; there’s “obviously…the need for risk-based supervision. If we have a risk-based supervision framework in place, anybody looking at the discount window would have been put on alert that there was the need to check certain things relating to certain banks, especially given the fact that the liquidity stresses came at the time of the global [economic] meltdown.
“And we know that [this] has affected Nigeria through two key channels—the oil price channel and the Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, outflow channel—which led to the crash in the stock market. Now, it would have been very clear that the problems of the banks were related to their exposure to the capital market and the oil market.”

We get the point now. Now the system is being set right side up. SLS burst onto the scene quietly not to rattle ‘the system’; he came to bell the very big cats in it. Married with children, SLS is widely published in many academic journals, books and newspapers in many lands.

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