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Watch Episode 1 of Forbes Africa TV’s “My Worst Day”: An Indepth Interview with the Emir of Kano

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Peace Hyde from Forbes Africa TV speaks to the Emir of Kano and Former CBN Governor on the first episode of Forbes Africa TV’s flagship show, “My Worst Day with Peace Hyde“.

On the debut episode, Muhammadu Sanusi recounts the day $20 billion dollars of the Nigerian people’s money vanished from state coffers and and what transpired in his final meeting with the Former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

“I said to the president I am surprised that I am being asked to resign and for raising an alarm over missing funds and the presiding minister who is in charge of the portfolio is not being asked to resign and from then I knew I had signed my political death warrant. I said I had no intention of resigning and he got very angry. Once I mentioned the minister he got very angry, his countenance changed and he said to me, you know whether you like it or not you are going to leave that office, I cannot continue to work with you, either you or I will leave government,” says Emir Sanusi.

Here are some things we learnt from Emir Sanusi and Peace Hyde on My Worst Day on Forbes Africa TV.

1. The Kano Kingdom:
Emir Sanusi is the religious leader of Kano, which is a hereditary role. Apparently, the Kano kingdom has been in existence for over 1000 years and his particular dynasty has been ruling Kano for over 200 years. He serves in a religious traditional role but his role is also one that has tremendous influence in terms of advice to political authorities and collaboration in the delivery of public services.

2. The state of the Nigerian Education System:
It turns out that the Emir of Kano initially wanted to continue with his studies to get a Masters and a PHD and become an academic economist. However, the government at the time, faced with similar economic conditions as today decided to put a ban on Nigerians studying abroad for fellowships and scholarships to avoid “brain drain”. Because the major attraction at the time for masters was an international recognition and the Emir of Kano did not want to get one from Nigeria, he opted for a career in banking instead. Could the Nigerian education system be the reason why there are so many Nigerians in the diaspora?

3. Not everyone in banking is smart:
“I have always been attracted to the more intellectual aspects of banking and risk management at that time was the most cutting edge of banking”

4. Thou Shalt Not Steal:
According to the Emir, “My Worst Day will have to go down to the moment I came to the conclusion that money that belonged to the Nigerian people was being taken away from them as Governor of Central Bank.”

5. There are always two options in any crisis:
When faced with a dilemma, there is always the right way and the wrong way and the Emir of Kano was faced with the same two choices. “So when I was faced with the banking crisis, I knew I had two options. One option is to do what most central banks in the world would do and say let the banks fail. But when a bank fails, people just see that one bank has failed but what they don’t see is the hundreds of thousands of people who have been destroyed who had money in those banks and these people are generally voiceless. The other option was to say no matter how much it costs the system; we need to make the investment necessary to protect those people,” Says Emir Sanusi.

6. Everybody needs to be known for something:
For the Emir Sanusi, his life has always been defined by the commitment to speak the truth to people in power. “If you actually just Google my name you will see all sorts of articles and all sorts of debates I’ve had over the past 30 years with different people on politics and religion and it has always been my life to say things as I see them,”.

7. The Government Consultative Committee within the Central Bank:
Turns out the Central Bank of Nigeria have a committee made up of all the departmental directors, the deputy governors and the governor himself who meet once in a quarter to review the economy. At several of these meetings, Emir Sanusi had complained that he was not at all satisfied that we had understood what was going on in revenues because the numbers were not adding up to him. The complaints led to an investigation into the revenue books of Nigeria, which exposed a deficit of $49 billion.

8. The Famous letter Emir Sanusi wrote to the president was ignored for 4 months:
It was only after Emir Sanusi’s letter to Former president Jonathan about the missing $20 billion was referenced by former president Obasanjo in his open letter that the news broke about the fraud. According to Emir Sanusi, all hell broke lose after the former president made the details of his letter public to the media.

9. The Petroleum Minister is the most powerful minister in Government:
According to Emir Sanusi, nobody who had touched Diezani had survived due to her status as the most powerful minister in GEJ’s administration. Is this the reason why President Buhari initially opted to handle the petroleum portfolio himself?

10. It is always better to say it in person:
The final encounter with the Emir and former President Jonathan took place in a face to face meeting. According to the Emir, he was summoned to the presidents close quarters where the president advised him to either fire someone from his administration or resign. Everybody assumed it was a telephone conversation but in fact the final meeting was done in person. As the Emir puts it, “Once I mentioned the minister he got very angry, his countenance changed and he said you know whether you like it or not you are going to leave that office, I cannot continue to work with you either you or I will leave government. So I knew I was not going to see the end of my time so I thanked him and shook his hands and left”, says Emir Sanusi.

11. You need to understand the psychology of a Prince:
When Senator Ben Murray Bruce highlighted the risks involved in fighting the Nigerian government, Emir Sanusi answered saying, the best place for a prince to be is where he can be a hero. If he got taken down by the president, he goes down defending $20 billion of the Nigerian peoples money and if he brings the president down he is a hero for bringing down the president whiles defending $20 billion of the peoples money so there was no way he could lose. It pays to be of royal heritage.

12. Power is transient:
As the saying goes, nothing remains the same forever. One minute you are on top, the next, at the bottom. As Emir Sanssi eloquently puts it, “where is Jonathan right now? He is in Bayelsa, nobody hears about him anymore. Where are all those people that everybody was so scared of?” It is important to build a good reputation when you are at the top of your game so that when things change, people will always remember the legacy you left behind.

13. Always be prepared for the worst:
“If the president wanted me to go to prison, he didn’t need to go through all of that, he should just tell me what prison to go to and for how long and I will drive myself,” says Emir Sanusi. If you have nothing to lose, doing what you think is right comes very easy. However, prison is definitely a scary place so I wonder if he would actually have gone to prison for a crime he did not commit?

14. Speak now or forever hold your peace:
If you don’t have the courage to speak when you should then you should have the honour and the dignity to keep quiet after that. According to the Emir,
“I take more pride in saying to a sitting president that you are wrong than someone who is no longer in power”.

15. Marcus Aurelius was a wise man:
According to Emir Sanusi, if you are faced with a choice of doing what is popular and doing what is right always do what is right. That saying was coined by the great Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius who coincidentally was also renowned for being the voice of the people during his rule in ancient Rome.

Watch the interview here:

11 Comments

  1. mouth mouth

    May 5, 2016 at 10:53 am

    good interview . not how much money you make but who you are. even thieves have assets

  2. Benson Ossai

    May 5, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Kai things happened ooh.If this is testimony for what happened during Jonathan administration in regards to the oil industry only Gods knows what also went wrong in other sectors of the economy.And Only God knows what happened in previous administration before Jonathan.So many secrecy in government.How can Nigeria developed with this kind of so many atrocities performed by our leaders? Certainly not.

  3. hadee

    May 5, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    I really enjoyed this interview and I look forward to more episodes. Too many corrupt people in government and I hope that soon, there will be a lot more people who have integrity, in government.

  4. Hmm

    May 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Hmmmmmmm

  5. Prince

    May 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    If you know the kind of things GEJ did, if someone shout Jo beside you, you’d almost kill the person before you find out he or she was trying to call Joseph or Joburg.

    Do you know what 20billion dollars is? Google and check how much was used to build Burj Khalifa, the tallest edifice in the world and Burj Al-Arab the only 7star hotel. You’ll weep for this country until you have no tears again. Meanwhile, that’s just the oil industry. same things goes for the customs, immigration and the rest of them.

    If a sitting president can say STEALING IS NOT CORRUPTION what else do we expect. I refuse to curse GEJ but God must do judgement on that man. lives were lost, hopes were shattered because of his recklessness and nonchalant attitude towards those that put him in office and for Diezani, you aint see nothing yet.

    • Monique

      May 5, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Except a forensic audit actually proved that $20 Billion DID NOT GO MISSING, but whatever, let’s believe a thief over an audit firm

    • Pot Calling Kettle.

      May 5, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      It is incredible to me that I, who wanted GEJ to go (and did not want Buhari to come), seemingly have to come to his defense but I just cannot believe how people can IGNORE blatant FACTS publicised and still readily available in the public domain!

      Despite the fact that it was only AFTER (and MONTHS after for that matter) he had been issued a query by the President (GEJ) to answer very serious allegations and complaints raised against him by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which he never answered. Imagine someone not answering a presidential query! When the query was re-issued/brought to his attention again, it was only AFTER that, sanusi suddenly remembered that $49.8billion, then was it $10.8billion,, finally, no, it was $20billion was MISSING. An economist cannot count? a banker, a former banking MD/CEO cannot do his sums correctly again? a CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR strangely cannot calculate properly? recklessly throwing out all manner of figures with serious allegations; where is that right or professional? where is that not odd, not strange, not cause for serious concern and deep thinking? That was sanusi’s response to the query from GEJ, the issues in which query, by the way, were not found neither raised by President Jonathan but by the regulatory body, the FRC and sent to GEJ, which GEJ forwarded to sanusi to respond to, and he did not, for MONTHS..

      This is an excerpt from the FRC’s report:

      “”Rather than address his indictment in the report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria on the Audited Financial Statements of the CBN for the year ended 31st December 2012, Sanusi has been playing politics and running from pillar to post, trying to get one court injunction or the order against his arrest. I must confess that I find his charade sickening. The report pointed out the untidy manner in which he had conducted the operations of the CBN. This is what he should address. Many Nigerians are not even aware that the issue is not about the untidy whittle he blew over alleged mismanagement of the country’s oil revenue. The FRC report indicted him long before he did this.

      Sanusi’s indictment is grave. It is pertinent to take a dispassionate second look at the FRC report for us to really understand the magnitude of the case against Sanusi. The report reads partly: “In a most ironical manner, it has become obvious that the CBN is not able to prepare its financial statements using applicable International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) whereas Deposit Money Banks that the CBN is supervising have complied with this national requirement since 2012. Undoubtedly, this laxity on the part of our apex bank, apart from calling to question its capacity for proper corporate governance, is capable of sending wrong signals to both domestic and international investors on the state of the Nigerian economy.

      “The provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the CBN and other Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) on Banking Resolution Sinking Fund have been breached in a material manner. For example, a Board of Trustees (BOT) to manage the Fund has not been constituted since 2010 when it was established. The CBN has however continued to utilise the Fund for certain operations without the approval of the said BOT.

      “Contrary to Section 34(b) of the CBN Act 2007 which provides that the CBN shall not, except as provided in Section 31 of the Act, inter alia, purchase the shares of any corporation or company, unless an entity set up by the approval of the authority of the Federal Government, CBN in 2010, acquired 7% shares of International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation of Malaysia to the tune of N0.743 Billion. This transaction was neither brought to Mr. President’s attention nor was a Board approval obtained before it was entered into.

      “The CBN had an additional brought forward to General Reserve Fund of N16.031 Billion in 2012 but proceeded on a voyage of indefensible expenses in 2012 characterised by inexplicable increases in some heads of expenditure during the year. Examples include:

      (i) The bank spent N3.086 billion ‘promotional activities’ in 2012 (up from N1.084 Billion in 2011). The bank spent this sum even when it is not in competition with any other institution in Nigeria; (ii) The CBN claimed to have expended N20.202 billion on ‘Legal and Professional Fees’ in 2011, beyond all reasonable standards of prudence and accountability; (iii) Between expenses on ‘Private Guards’ and ‘Lunch for Policemen’, the CBN claimed to have spent N1.257 Billion in 2012; (iv) While Section 6(3) (c) of the CBN Act 2007 provides that the Board of the CBN is to make recommendations to Mr. President on the rate of remuneration to Auditors, the Bank has consistently observed this provision in the breach and even went to the extent of changing one of its Joint External Auditors without notifying the office of the President.

      “In the explanations offered by the CBN pursuant to Presidential directives, it offered a breakdown of ‘Currency Issue Expenses’ for 2011 and 2012. Interestingly, it claimed to have paid a total of N38.233 billion to the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company Limited (NSPMC) in 2011 for printing of banknotes’. Paradoxically however, in the same 2011, NSPMC reported a total turnover of N29.370 Billion for all its transaction with all clients (including the CBN).”

      How could the CBN under Sanusi spend about N1.3 billion on private “security guards and lunch for policemen? The external audit further revealed balances of sundry foreign currencies without physical stock of foreign currencies in the CBN head office and questionable write-off of N40 billion naira loans of a bank.””

      These are just some of the grave infractions unmasked by the external auditors, which clearly shows recklessness and gross incompetence which characterised the operations of the CBN in 2012 under Sanusi.

    • Lalah

      July 24, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      But he addressed all these things in the interview… did you watch it at all?

    • nnenne

      May 5, 2016 at 11:08 pm

      So, the people brought the woman to Jesus because she committed adultery and should be stoned to death.
      Jesus said, let him who have not committed a sin first throw a stone.
      One by one they all left.
      Jesus turned to the woman and asked her where all the people went. She replied that she didn’t know. Then, Jesus told her, go home and sin no more.

      I don’t condone corruption but I hate selective justice. All men are born equal and should be treated same.

      There’s always three sides to every story. This story has Sanusi’s side, GEJ’S side and the truth! We have only heard Sanusi’s side.

  6. Truth to power

    May 5, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    @PotCallingKettle, you obviously didn’t watch the interview or you already had a prepared response to unleash in the comments section in order to dampen the onslaught against boss Oga GEJ. Sanusi clearly outlined how some of $49bn was ‘explained’ away by the NNPC citing their own unconventional accounting arrangements with Oil firms, leaving $20bn still unaccounted for til date and this is corroborated by PWC forensic audit. The great lesson here is that “power is transient”, especially in politics. Where are all those “powerful untouchables’ now? Having the courage to be our true selves regardless of the situation, is where real power lies.

  7. Mamacita

    May 6, 2016 at 7:51 am

    @ Monique: Of course information passed to the audit firms can not be compromised. Please stop talking as if we are not Nigerians.

    I worked for an NGO many moons ago and money donated by international organisations went conveniently missing, when donor organisations came to check our books we had helped so many indigent people Nigeria was almost poverty free. Why didn’t do or say anything? Biko, leave story.

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