A powerful lobby is currently pushing for the return of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as the shape of Tinubu’s presidency begins to emerge.
Sanusi, whose forte is risk management in banking, enjoys the blessing of Governor Nasiru El Rufai of Kaduna State who has the ears of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.
As CBN governor between 2009 and 2014, Sanusi’s strong, independent leadership of the apex bank ensured relative stability of the financial market, especially after the turbulence of the global financial crisis of 2008/2009. Besides, Naira’s value stabilised from around N155 to $1 for four years.
Tinubu, a seasoned accountant, is said to be predisposed to a new monetary management template, synergised with sound fiscal policy to immediately revitalise the national economy upon the assumption of office on May 29.
Sanusi is seen as a credible technocrat with a strong character to sanitise the banking/financial sector.
”The Nigerian economy is estimated to have lost N20trillion between January and March 2023, according to the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, a think tank, by way of deceleration of economic activities, crippling of trading activities, stifling of the informal economy, contraction of the agricultural sector, and the paralysis of the rural economy,” a source said.
Recall that Sanusi was suspended by the governor of President Goodluck Jonathan president after he caused shockwaves by alleging that $20bn (£12bn) in oil revenue had gone missing.
He had told a senate committee that of the $67bn of oil sold between January 2012 and July 2013, $20bn had not been accounted for.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, while saying the claim was unsubstantited, insisted the allegations showed “little understanding of the technicalities of the oil industry”.
Mr Sanusi is widely respected after undertaking reforms to the banking sector after his appointment in 2009 and named central bank governor of the year for 2010 by Banker magazine.
He vowed to challenge his suspension in order to preserve the central bank’s independence.
Foreign exchange, bond and money markets stopped trading because of uncertainty caused by his suspension.
The BBC’s Will Ross had said Sanusi’s allegations threatened to expose high-level fraud in Nigeria’s notoriously opaque and corrupt oil sector. Nigeria, being one of the world’s biggest oil producers.
“The reality is anyone who challenges the oil sector is striking at the heart of the vested interests that control the Nigerian state and one should be ready for the consequences,” Sanusi told the BBC at the time.