Economizing: Sanusi Sets Record Straight With His Critics
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, yesterday sent out a calm retort to those agitating for his removal, he said they got it wrong.
Sanusi said Nigeria has a laid down political structure that would not be changed even if he is removed from office, adding that his removal will not guarantee an economic development for the country.
Speaking at the financial regulators forum debate at the 18th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, he said, “So if you sack the Governor of Central Bank, does it change anything? It is not the solution; the solution is to face this reality.”
Sanusi has been under attack from different individuals and interest groups after he called for the sack of 50 per cent of federal workers at the Annual Capital Market Retreat in Warri, Delta State.
In his guiding principle, he said 70 per cent of the country’s earnings was being consumed by federal appointees, thus, reducing the workforce by 50 per cent would do the nation good.
However, yesterday the CBN governor said he was being criticized for uttering the truth, which is right to the growth of the nation.
Those present at the debate were the Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Arunmah Oteh, Director General, National Pension Commission, Mr. Muhammad Ahmad; and Managing Director, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, among others.
Sanusi said, “People say everything is about politics and let us go to the politics of it. For those of you who were in Warri, this is a country where we have 774 local government councils. In each council, you have a chairman and a vice-chairman and maybe 10 councillors and some other aides.
“Take a state like Kano which used to be one state. Now it is Kano and Jigawa. When it was one state where you had one governor and maybe nine or 10 commissioners, I went to King’s College and Ahmadu Bello University on Kano State government scholarship. My parents did not pay, I was in King’s College, the state government even paid for my rail ticket from Lagos to Kano and back, and I wasn’t the only one.
“Now what do you have? That one state has become two states, two governors, two deputy governors, 40 commissioners, maybe 80 legislators and only God knows how many special advisers and assistants they have.
Continuing, he said, “This is not about NLC or Trade Union Congress or the President or the National Assembly, but it is about us as a country deciding whether this constitution that we have chosen makes sense.”
He faulted the Nigerian constitution, which has made it compulsory for each state in the federation to have a minister, adding that the problem must be looked into to allow meaningful development in the country.
He said, “The constitution says that there must be a minister from every state of the federation. Let me ask you, as intelligent and as educated human beings, what is the connection between the number of states and the number of ministries at the federal level.
“We are talking about federal character, so if you have 50 states today, must we have 50 ministries, if we have a 100 states must we have 100 ministries?
“I want to understand so if we create a state for the South-East since they say they want one more state, and then you must have one more minister and create a ministry even if we don’t need it. So because you have created one more state, the Federal Government must have a minister from that state.”
He said the manner which political appointments are made in the country it would not be easy to remember who headed a particular ministry in the past as time goes on.
Sanusi said, “Let us be realistic, between 1999 and now how many ministers have we had? You have 42, you do cabinet reshuffle and bring in another 42 and I am sure between 1999 and now we have had more than 200 ministers and how many of them can we really remember.
“Just to give you an idea of how ridiculous this is, if I ask you to name between 1999 and now the Nigerians who have been ministers how many can you remember? Why? Because they are so many and their jobs are so poorly defined and you cannot remember what they did because the only way to remember a man is based on what he did.”
“We cannot develop if government is spending 70 per cent of the nation’s revenue on itself and spending 30 per cent on the people. Is that a sensible situation?” Sanusi queried.
He concluded by saying, no country in Africa uses Nigeria’s political model because of its expensive nature, that calling for his sack was not the solution rather the nation should look into the issues of bloated recurrent expenditure.