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[Opinion] Is The CBN Governor Stupid



By Ross George

Credit: NAN

Credit: NAN

I have never heard of a thing more stupid or embarrassing than a governor of a central bank of Nigeria not understanding how revenue from crude oil is administered. Sanusi Lamido exposed his ignorance and shallowness after days to trying to snub the superior argument of smarter technocrats.

It is clear to me why the monetary policies of Nigeria under Sanusi Lamido have not helped improve the economy since he emerged as CBN governor. His over dependence on hot money to stabilize the currency, and his straight jacket, textbook copy and paste monetary policies has had many Nigerian economists scratching their heads. One of them has asked, ” where did Yar’Adua bring the man from?”

His arrogance and pride has made it impossible for him to learn from his subordinates in the Central Bank who are smarter and more experienced than him in monetary mechanics. Top officials of the bank say they miss the intellectual edge of past CBN governors, and deride the present as one who is only interested in publicity and speech making.

After watching the public embarrassment of the Central Bank of Nigeria today, I can confidently posit that Sanusi has run the CBN with faulty data, and has not been thorough in the discharge of his duties. There is every reason to believe that this CBN governor is over-hyped and over-rated, and blinds his inefficiency and dullness with public presentations and pirated publications, like the few for which he has been sued for plagiarism.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi does not have the academic credentials to be governor of CBN and he knows he does not qualify. No wonder he is rushing out and not demanding a second term, he can’t be that lucky. The issue of Sanusi’s record in banking and monetary economics has been debated severally. Professor Peter Ekeh of the State University of New York at Bufallo wrote about Sanusi’s record saying:

The information we have on Sanusi’s preparation for his present position is sparse and unpublicized. We read that he did his undergraduate degree in Economics at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, graduating in 1981. We do not know in what area s of economics he specialized. It is traditional at that University to write a Research Essay in the final year. It would be important to know on what topic Lamido Sanusi wrote his essay. It is also good information to know what class of degree he earned to enable him to graduate from that University. The publicity piece on Sanusi on the Web site of Central Bank of Nigeria tells us that Sanusi took M. Sc. (Economics) courses, apparently without taking the degree at the end, although he is said to have obtained a distinction in Monetary Policy. Did he abandon the M.Sc. project? We are told that Sanusi returned briefly to teach at Ahmadu Bello University.

What subjects did he teach? These are elementary facts that should be available from a full curriculum vitae of the Chief Economist of the Federation. They are the sort of questions that any interviewing body would demand from any young academic who applies for the position of Lecturer or Senior Lecturer in any of our universities. In addition, we may demand to know from Nigeria’s Chief Economist whether he took any professional examinations in banking while he worked at ICON Limited (Merchant Bankers) and United Bank for Africa before he became the CEO of First Bank of Nigeria. Finally, it will be beneficial for our judgment of the qualifications of our national Chief Economist to gain information on whether his studies in Islamic Law at the University of Khartoum, Sudan, in the hiatus between his years at ICON Limited and UBA, were related to his banking profession. The Central Bank Web site informs us that Sanusi bagged a First Class degree in his Islamic Studies in the Sudan. These are not over-bearing or over-probing questions. We would know about such background of the Governors of the Central Banks of any other African countries from their curriculum vitae.

Perhaps more important is Sanusi’s publication record. Fortunately, in modern times several vehicles exist for accessing the records of anyone who has engaged in academic or professional publishing. For this exercise I have employed the liberal vehicle of Harzing’s Publish or Perish. The result for Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is distressing. He has ten papers listed. They come from such newspaper-grade media sources as and Daily Trust. All of them are about Sharia, Islamic Law and women. None of them is about economics or banking. The Web site of Central Bank of Nigeria boasts that Sanusi has publications in learned journals, but none is listed. They surely do not appear in the public record.

While these questions from Prof. Eke may never get the answers they deserve, it is important to not that Nigeria has put up with its worst CBN governor in history. I can only compare Sanusi to Reserve (Central) Bank governor of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, who after a disastrous two term run, exited this year. Lamido Sanusi is a good man, but he is not smart enough an economist to run the CBN.

Written By Ross George

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