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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Nigeria: Sanusi - an Avant-Garde Central Banker and a promoter of Islamic banking

Sanusi's leadership at the Central Bank of Nigeria has been quite eventful; beginning from his well publicised criticism of the 7-point agenda of late President Umaru Musa Yar' Adua during the confirmation hearing at the Senate prior to his assumption of duty in June 2009.

As the immediate past Managing Director of First Bank, Sanusi had his suspicion and after he was appointed the CBN Governor, further audit confirmed to him that some Nigerian banks were simply cooking up figures to give the impression that all was well with them.
It is easily discernible what Sansui's passions are: banking, quest for justice, philanthropy, insightful intervention in public discourse as well as vigorous defence of his own opinions. As a notable Prince of the famous Kano emirate, Sanusi's passion for justice and philanthropy could be understood, but it would appear that his commitment to banking is a personal choice. Banking, especially the western type that Sanusi is supervising at the moment, is an anathema to Islamic heritage which is alleged to dominate his thinking at this point in time. Here lies the contradiction then; Sanusi, an alleged Islamic fundamentalist superintends over a banking system that thrives on usury punishable by Allah.
Sanusi's flurry of reforms and implacable commitment to protect depositors' funds and punish pilferers have attracted less attention than his statements on revenue allocation, CBN donation to Madalla and Kano bomb victims, or his comments on the naked greed of the elite that corners national resources to itself. To some Nigerians, Sanusi's comments on the above mentioned issues amount to less than his determination to establish corporate governance.
It makes a lot of sense therefore, to strengthen the rules under which banks can lend out money and also how long a bank CEO remains in office. Sanusi's swift and decisive application of CBN's powers enabled him to seize troubled banks and prevent their collapse, thus safeguarding depositors' money without anyone losing a Kobo.
Not to talk of the apex bank's intervention in the power and aviation sectors, agriculture as well as small and medium enterprises in order to arrest decay in these sectors and help jumpstart the Nigerian economy.
(Allafrica / 13 Nov 2012)
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