By Ahmed Garba
On February, 20, 2014, Nigerians woke up to learn that their stealth dictator, Emperor Ebele has suspended the Governor of Central Bank, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. In a manner consistent with hypocrisy, the emperor waited for Sanusi to be out of the country before carrying out his despicable (some might say calculated humiliation) act. Weren’t we here before, in 1976, when Yakubu Gowon was attending OAU meeting in Kampala, Uganda, only to be told that there had been a coup against his government; again in August of 1985, when Gen. Buhari was away in Saudi Arabia, and evil man Babangida staged a coup? No wonder Ebele once said that Babangida is “like a father to me”. Like father like son? It is important to point out that the first two cases involved military coups, where the coup plotters had to try to minimize insurrection or loss of lives. So, what is the Emperor’s excuse?
Alas, the Ebele that Nigerians thought they knew is not the Ebele there is.
Consider the facts revealed in a recent report that, a few days before the announcement of the CBN governor’s suspension, when Ebele sat down with his Kitchen cabinet, several options were tabled as to how the matter should be handled. The options ranged from the sensible, that is, let the governor run out his course peacefully, to the thuggish/ruffian let’s disgrace him out of office. Needless to say, we have seen which option Ebele found more acceptable. So, we are dealing with someone who truly believes in his own statement: “I don’t give a damn” about Nigeria and Nigerians.
Lest we forget, we have previously seen this display of flight of reason from our closet tyrant. Recall the way he handled the case of former President of Court of Appeals, Justice Isa Ayo Salami. We saw how the emperor pressed the panic button, when he thought that Justice Salami was going to “throw sand in his gari”. In a previous article, written two years ago, I chronicled Ebele’s tyrannical tendencies. It is worth revisiting.
GARRISON POLITICS: BRIGANDS in ABUJA
As noted by Daily Independent in this article, the term “Garrison Politics” was first introduced into Nigeria’s political lexicon by none other than PDP’s own former Senator, and retired Col. Ahmadu Ali. He chose it as a better replacement for the term “amala politics” that was being used to describe the rough and tumble style of politics practiced by Lamidi Adedibu in Oyo state. One now wonders if Senator/Col. Ali was consciously or subconsciously describing the true ideology of his own party–PDP, for, as we have been witnessing, PDP is quite at home in this bare knuckle, “do or die” politics, and they do it with all manners of malevolence. In addition to what Nigerians witnessed under Obasanjo (e.g. the unexplained murder of Bola Ige), current examples include the following:
It is that last part, corruption that the “Aboki”, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi chose to take on, and do so damming Ebele’s commitment to brigandage. It is hardly any secrete within and outside Nigeria that Ebele is a man for whom any fight against corruption is an anathema. In fact, if you ask him, he will tell you that corruption is a “benediction”; and if he didn’t have that inferiority complex before white people, he would have stated this fact in Davos, Switzerland. Trouble is, Sanusi did not “get the memo/email”, that Ebele expects corruption to be photo-phobic; that it must remain allergic to sunlight or light from any source.
If Gen. Buhari had WAI (War Against Indiscipline), Ebele has WAT (War Against Transparency)!
Since this event started unraveling, a lot has been said about the various “sins” of Sanusi, ranging from he talked too much, he was too brazen, he was not apolitical, etc., but I will submit that as far as Ebele is concerned, Sanusi’s cardinal sin is that, the audacious Aboki had trouble accepting that Ebele’s philosophy/ideology is: “It is our oyel”.
The most surprising public evidence of this bare knuckle fist fight, or the rofo rofo fight as the Yorubas will put it, was the typical crude and crass manner in which the CBN governor was suspended while on official business trip, coupled with the litany of justifications publicly narrated in the letter of suspension. Even for brigands, such display of inelegance and doltish behavior is a new low. But then again, that is right Ebele’s alley. It had been reported that Sanusi was asked to resign but he refused. While confirming the story, Sanusi clarified that the reason given for the request was that, he had leaked his letter of September 2013 to Obasanjo and Amechi, an allegation that he denied. Question: If there was this mountain of evidence against Sanusi, wouldn’t it have been more legitimate to present these facts as concrete evidence for requesting his resignation? I would think that a more dignified way to effectuate the request for resignation will be to present the damning evidence of violations, along with the provisions of the law supporting the request for his resignation. So, most likely, the talk of asking Sanusi to resign must have been the first salvo of the garrison politics that is now unfolding.
In fact, in all of the sundry list of justifications for suspending Sanusi, our aberrant tyrant–whose style falls way out in the tail end of outliers even for Nigeria, with all of her history of military rulership–did not border to provide Nigerians with the legal basis that informed his “rush to judgment”. Instead, what we got was endless list of allegations, laden with vile summation coming from that obscure Financial Reporting Council—an agency whose intended purpose is to set standards for how audit reports should be prepared. An agency whose own CEO (Jim Obazee) is himself mired in sexual harassment case. In addition, given the tone and style of the FRC report, it begs the question, can an organization that produces such a report, peppered with prejudice be trusted with the responsibility of setting audit reporting standards. Certainly, no Accounting/Auditing company will consider it professional to produce report using such language. In Sanusi’s suspension, as in the case of Justice Ayo Salami, the emperor resorted to the “recommendation” of a council to do his hatchet job, but the emperor did not accord the same value to the 2011 KPMG report on NNPC, or the Ribadu Committee Report on subsidy removal.
Ebele may very well be showing his tendency towards vindictiveness. In a recent interview, Sanusi mentioned that, as far back as 2011, he had told Ebele that he has no interest in staying on as CBN governor after the end of his current contract. He also added that, Ebele was somewhat taken aback by that statement. Also, right around the 2011 presidential election, Sanusi wrote an article, I believe it was titled: “Why I will vote for Buhari”, in which he praised Buhari’s economic policy dubbed “Buharism”, which might be construed as a slight against Ebele and/or Ngozi. Taking these two events, coupled with Ebele’s established propensity for vindictiveness, one can see that Sanusi has been in Ebele’s cross hair for a long time. Therefore, his whistle blowing about NNPC’s shady activities is tantamount to the case of a chicken that is about to be roasted which then doused itself with cooking oil.
Furthermore, when Sanusi spoke at a recent TEDx event, where he introduced Nigerian youths to the well entrenched claws of ‘vested interests’ in the country, and the deep-seated concept of rentier state, who would have failed to notice that he was alerting Nigerians that fighting corruption comes with a price?
Interestingly enough, we have not heard from our northern political champions (NEF, ACF, etc.) on this matter. Even the former Kaduna Mafia (now Northern Cabal) have been uncharacteristically silent. I wonder if the barrage of SCUD missiles that Sanusi has been launching was about to claim them as collateral damage along the way. If so, then you can almost hear them saying, serves him right. Let him roast, after all, he knows enough ‘turanci’ to untangle himself.
They say there is no honor among thieves, and they are right, whoever they are. As the heat intensifies on this matter, especially in the foreign press, Ngozi may very well have decided that it is time to throw Ebele under the bus. In this article, hear Ngozi trying to sanitize her image by sacrificing Ebele:
“My position on this has been clear from the start. The Ministry of Finance’s reconciliation showed a shortfall of $10.8bn in NNPC remittances to the Federation account. After this, the conflicting claims continued with new figures such as $20bn being mentioned………I therefore want to see the truth from an investigation under the auspices of the Auditor-General, which in my view should be undertaken as a matter of extreme urgency by independent external auditor.”
Is that the Accountant-General that is also involved in 3.5 billion naira scandal?
In order to help us understand this sudden sense of duty that has overtaken Ngozi, the BBC reporter, Robert Peston added this:
“On the face of it, this looks like a declaration of at least semi independence by the finance minister from Nigeria’s president, who has been accused of punishing the central bank governor for raising concerns about the allegedly missing oil billions…..The reason I say that is because – I am reliably led to believe – the finance minister is concerned that Goodluck Jonathan, if left to his own devices, would not have initiated an independent probe of the allegedly missing billions.”
Isn’t Ngozi the so-called “Coordinating Minister of Economy”? The one given carte blanch authority over Nigeria’s economy, but who never bothered to raise alarm when billions of dollars went missing? Also, isn’t it amazing? when Sanusi raised alarm in his letter of September 2013, both Ebele and Ngozi could not be bothered. Now Ngozi is telling a BBC reporter that she wants investigation because Ebele will not initiate any probe on his own. Why didn’t she second Sanusi when he raised the issue initially? If you ask me, I’d say that somebody (hint, hint, Ngozi)–right before our wide-open, God-blessed eyes–wants to take the high moral ground and extricate herself from the pilfering quagmire that she helped create or sustain.
Finally, let us not fool ourselves, every time Dokubo Asari threatens Nigeria and Nigerians, he is speaking with his own tongue, but from deep inside the mind of Ebele; and from the preceding instances of plundering banditry, it appears we are witnessing the evolution of an irascible Ebele into an unconscionable Leviathan. Therefore, while in 2011 Ebele’s political mantra was “Fresh Air”, come 2015, his new mantra may very well be “Burn baby Burn!”.