Biography Nigeria Reporting
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is a household name in Nigeria and indeed Africa. He is also one of the most illustrious graduates of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. But who exactly is the man Sanusi Lamido Sanusi? Here is a detailed profile of “THE BOY WHO WOULD BE KING.”
His Royal Highness, Malam, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Emir of Kano, (Mai Martaba Sanusi Lamido Sanusi) was born in the ancient city of Kano in northern Nigeria on the 31st of July, 1961.
His grandfather was Sir Muhammadu Sunusi, the 11th Emir of Kano. He is of the Sullubawa clan of the Torobe Fulani. His father was Muhammad Lamido Sanusi, a career diplomat and technocrat who was the Nigerian Ambassador to Belgium, China, and Canada and thereafter served as the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
His Royal Highness, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had his primary school education at the St. Anne’s Catholic Primary School, Kakuri, Kaduna (1967-1972, where he got his First School Leaving Certificate, FSLC) then he had his high school education at the King’s College, Lagos from 1973 to 1977.
He was admitted in 1977 to the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna State where he finished with a degree in Economics in 1981 and later he was off to the International University of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan and got a degree in Islamic Law.
He did his national youth service (NYSC) at the old Gongola State (now Taraba and Adamawa States) after graduating from ABU and later registered for his master’s degree program in Developmental Economics at the same ABU and he finished in 1983 with a distinction in Monetary Policy. From 1983 to 1985, he was a lecturer of economics at ABU. It was after his brief teaching career that he veered off to banking.
He started his sojourn in the banking industry when he joined Icon Limited (Merchant Bankers) in 1985 and spent seven years. At Icon Limited, he gained experience in various fields as follows: financial advisory services, issuing house activities, privatization, debt conversion, marketing, and credit.
He later became the Area Manager of the Kano Area Office (North) before he tendered his resignation in order to pursue his higher education. This organization is a subsidiary of Morgan Guaranty Trust Bank of New York and the Baring Brothers of London.
From 1991 to 1997, he was at the International University of Africa in Khartoum, Sudan where he was at first a student of Arabic before bagging a second Bachelor’s degree, in Shariah and Islamic Studies. He finished in Sudan in 1997 with a First Class Degree in Sharia and Islamic Studies with a strong elective in Arabic.
By May 1997, he was back to banking as he joined the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, then newly-privatized, as a Principal Manager II in the Credit Risk Management Division.
In January 1998, he was promoted to Principal Manager I and in December 1998, he was made the Assistant General Manager. In January 2002, he was promoted to the position of Deputy General Manager and a General Manager, March 2005. In September 2005, he moved on to the First Bank of Nigeria as an Executive Director (Risk and Management Control).
In January 2009, he was elevated to the post of the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First Bank, becoming the first person from the northern region of the country to be appointed to such a post since the bank’s establishment in 1894 (as Bank of British West Africa).
It is the oldest bank in the country. In the banking industry, he is widely respected and known for his contribution to the development of the risk management culture and control mechanisms. Sanusi was also the Chairman of the Kakawa Discount House and he was also on the Board of the First Bank of Nigeria (UK) Limited.
MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is married to Hajia Sadiya, the daughter of the his great uncle and the late Emir Ado Bayero (Sanusi’s predecessor) and Hajia Maryam and they have eight children. I am also made to understand that there is a third wife who has been married to him for at least 13 years.
BECOMING THE CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR
His nomination for the position came on the 1st of June, 2009. Sanusi is popular for saying he never lobbied for the job and that he never even knew President Yar’adua when he nominated him.
The Nigerian Senate confirmed his nomination on the 3rd of June after grilling him for three hours, some top bankers in the country made spirited moves to block his confirmation, he was already at loggerheads with the Chief Executive Officer of the Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola over the de-marketing of the bank.
On the 9th of June, 2009, he was appointed the 10th Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, coming at a time when the nation was caught in the middle of lingering global economic crisis worsened by a sharp drop in oil prices. Sanusi came on board with fresh strategies to salvage the economy. And saw things a little bit differently.
This was his view of the seven points agenda of the then government: “My view is that until we address the infrastructural problem in this country, we will not even begin to solve our problems. As a matter of fact, my view is that in the seven-point agenda, if we could just focus on two or three things and finish them up in the next four years, we will be far more effective in contributing to this country than focused on seven.”
On the 20th of February, while he was away in Niamey, Niger Republic on official duty, he was suspended from office by President Goodluck Jonathan. However, the suspension was mired in serious controversy as it is widely believed in the country that Sanusi was disengaged from his duties because he blew the lid over the $20 billion reportedly missing from the nation’s coffers.
As the CBN governor, he launched a radical move to save the country’s major banks from what he referred to as an impending collapse. In August 2009, his ‘rescue’ of major commercial banks in the country (Afribank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank, Finbank and Intercontinental Bank), involved injecting the sum of N400 billion naira to these banks as bailout funds. Sanusi did not just stop at injecting these funds, he also went ahead to fire the chief executive officers of these banks.
In a nation where ethnic and religious tensions are always high, he was accused of nursing a hidden agenda in pursuing these executives from office. He said: “We had to move in to send a strong signal that such recklessness on the part of bank executives will no longer be tolerated.” Following the dismissal of the bank executives, 16 senior bank officials were hauled before the courts on the charges of fraud, handing out loans to companies they invested in, giving loans to non-existing companies and even manipulating share prices in collusion with unscrupulous stockbrokers.
SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI THE SHARIA SCHOLAR
In addition to pursuing his career as a banker, he also took time out to learn about Islam, his faith, with a focus on the Sharia legal system. He bagged a degree in Sharia and Islamic Studies from the African International University, Khartoum, Sudan. He has delivered various speeches and papers on various issues from Sharia to women to the economy within the Islamic framework. In September 2000, he wrote a piece (actually an editorial) titled Shariah and the Woman Question in the Daily Trust.
BECOMING A KING: EMIR OF KANO
On the evening of the 8th of June, 2014, Rabiu Zakariya, Secretary to the Kano State Government announced that Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has been selected as the new Emir of Kano. The 14th Fulani Emir of Kano, he later assume the name Emir Muhammed Sanusi II, with the appellation of His Royal Majesty. On the 14th of June, it was announced that the new king would go on a three-day solitary ritual in a dark room called Dakin Duhu. He was to be locked up in the room for 72 hours without having access to anyone. The essence of the tradition is said to enable him to seek spiritual support for the challenges that lie ahead.
INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT SANUSI LAMIDO SANUSI
-Sanusi fearless and outspoken. For example, in October 1998, a group of young northern leaders (they were called the ‘Young Northern Turks’ including Sanusi) gathered at the Arewa House in Kaduna where they thoroughly blasted the northern political elders. The Turks put the blame of the north squarely at the doorstep of the old political leaders whom they accused of senseless tribalism. Sanusi and his ilk were ferociously against rotational presidency.
They accused the northern elders for going around with ‘expired ideas’ and for collaborating with violent military dictators (ostensibly referring to Babangida and Abacha). At the event, which was attended by the likes of Professor Jibril Aminu, General Garba Wushishi (rtd), Group Captain Usman Jibrin, Alhaji Falalu Bello (Managing Director, Inter-City Bank), Alhaji Ahmed Dasuki, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma and the patriarch and chairman of the Northern Elders Forum, Alhaji Abdulrahman Okene.
Sanusi and his clique, like Usman Bugaje, voted for a balanced federalism, revenue formula and good governance. Also present at the event was Dr. Attahiru Jega, former chairman of INEC. Sanusi also rubbished and lambasted corrupt southern politicians and stated that they would only support a southern politician based on the idea of fairness and not outright political blackmail. That was in 1998 and then, he was just a principal manager of the Credit Risk Management Division of the United Bank of Africa (UBA).
The then IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde once called Sanusi the “most intelligent man in Nigeria”
-In September 2001, while still a manager at UBA, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi lashed out at the planned construction of a N770 million naira government house in Abuja (not in Kano) for the Kano State government at a time when the taps in Kano State were not running. The government, headed then by Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, threatened to in turn pull out its money in UBA vaults if UBA refused to sack Lamido. He was the highest-ranking person from Kano State in UBA. – When he was made the Dan Majen Kano, a song was specially composed for him.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who is a fan of Arsenal FC, is a strong proponent of liberal monetarism and the Washington Consensus. He is also known for voicing out liberal but somewhat controversial issues, such as the application of DNA tests in sharia law.
-In 2002, he wrote a piece titled Buharism: Economic Theory and Political Economy. In the piece, which he posted on the internet and also got published in Daily Trust on 20th August, he stated his personal opinions of the economic policies of the 20-month military regime of Buhari. In his another piece, Adulteress Diary, he stated among other things, that early marriage was a cause of VVF, prompting several rejoinders. In January 2003, in an interview with the Daily Trust, he stated that the sharia has improved the moral standards of Muslims.
AWARDS, HONOURS, LAURELS, AND RECOGNITIONS
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is one of the most awarded Nigerians. Below are some of his awards:
Vanguard Newspaper Man of the Year 2009.
The Nation Newspaper Man of the Year, 2009.
Leadership Newspaper Man of the Year, 2009.
2011: Listed as one of the TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Speaker, Warwick Economics Summit, February 2012. Here, he talked about the reforms of the banking sector in Nigeria and the impact on the economy.
He is a Fellow, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
2010/2011: Central Bank Governor of the Year (global award category given by The Banker, a global financial intelligence magazine for his anti-corruption drive focused on saving 24 banks that were almost collapsing and pushing for the prosecution of senior bankers involved in the corruption, leading to the eventual imprisonment of two banking executives).
2010/2011: Central Bank Governor of the Year for Africa (given by The Banker, a global financial intelligence magazine).
Silverbird’s Man of the Year 2010.
Tribune Newspaper Man of the Year 2010.
On 22nd July 2010, he was honoured with 4th highest national honour in Nigeria, the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) by President Goodluck Jonathan.
In November 2010, he was given a special invitation by the United States Congressional Sub-Committee on International Monetary Policy and Trade to give testimony at a hearing on The Global Financial Crisis and Financial Reforms in Nigeria.
2010 Sardauna Leadership Award recipient.
African Leadership Person of the Year 2011.
Forbes Africa Magazine Person of the Year 2011.
Honorary doctorate degrees (University of Benin, UNIBEN, Science, Bayero University, Kano, BUK, Letters, Benue State University, Makurdi, Science, University of Jos, UNIJOS, Law and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Business Administration).
Beheading of Akaluka
Sanusi was reportedly alleged to have committed murder in Kano.
In 1995, after he returned from Kharthoum where he went to study Islam and Sharia, Sanusi was alleged to have connived with some extremists to behead Gideon Akaluka, a young Igbo trader, for allegedly desecrating the Quran.
A source reported that Sanusi played a vital role in the alleged decapitation of the 22 years old, Gideon.
Sanusi and his co-fundamentalist stormed the prison where Gideon was locked, beheaded him and paraded his head around the streets of Kano.
The late General Sanni Abacha however ordered the assassination of the perpetrators of the crime. Elites in Kano were believed to have spared Sanusi who is perceived as a future Emir.
So Sanusi was transferred to Sokoto prison from Kano where he was incarcerated for two years.
In 2013, a rumour of an alleged romance between Sanusi and Maryam Yaro, a mother of four, made its way to the public.
It was alleged that Sanusi had appointed Maryam to the CBN without following due processes and had also elevated her to the position of Assistant Director.
Sanusi denied the allegation, stating that Maryam was never an employee of the CBN.