"The moment we [Africans] lost our languages was also the moment we lost our bodies, our gold, diamonds, copper, coffee, tea." - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Muhammadu Sanusi 11 - The Emir of Kano: The Talking Monarch

The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II
A few days ago my son screamed – daddy…, before I could respond I heard the same scream (daddy) coming from his iPad. Then I asked him; what was that? He laughed and replied; it’s Talking Tom, it repeats everything anybody says. It can even speak Igbo language – speak to it, he ‘commanded’.
Talking Tom

I said; ‘onye na nke ya’ (to each his own) to the iPad and talking Tom perfectly repeated my phrase. Talking Tom is a computer game, which obviously has no thinking of its own. It merely repeats what is said to the computer.

In the same manner, there are some people who simply say what they hear without thinking it over. These kinds of people can easily be described as talking people. And one of such people is the current Emir of Kano – Emir Muhammadu Sanusi 11. But in his case, he’s the talking monarch.

Before Emir Sanusi became the talking monarch, he was the talking Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Towards the end of his tenure and prior to his suspension from office (February, 2014), Sanusi made his famous missing money allegation against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Sanusi claimed that NNPC cannot account for the proceeds from its oil sales amounting to a whooping US$49 billion dollars. But when NNPC and other interested parties reacted to his claim, Sanusi revised the figure to US$20 billion.

Not done yet, on the floor of the Nigerian Senate, he further reduced the amount to US$12 billion. And later he agreed with the Finance Minister that the funds in question could be as low as US$10.8 billion. And a few days later, Mr Sanusi went back to US$20 billion as the amount missing from NNPC.

That was Sanusi as Talking CBN Governor, exhibiting the characteristics of Talking Tom – echoing other people. Perhaps, Sanusi heard from some people that there is a missing US$49 billion at NNPC and he started repeating what he heard, just like talking Tom.

If Sanusi was not a talking CBN Governor, he ought to have verified his facts before going to the press. Jumbling figures doesn’t fit the profile of a central bank’s governor. The words of a Governor carry weight and will influence a country’s economy; that’s why he/she is rather seen than heard – letting his actions to speak for him.

As it appears then that Sanusi’s allegation was a political campaign to hurt the government of former President Jonathan, he was subsequently suspended from office. On 08/June/2014, Sanusi became the Emir of Kano and transformed from talking CBN governor to talking monarch.

As a Talking Monarch, Sanusi revisited his allegation of US$20 billion missing from NNPC. President Buhari stated that the allegation will be reviewed and it’s been 6 months since he became president, the people are still waiting to know if actually any money missed from NNPC.

While Nigerian people are waiting for the outcome of the final investigation of Emir Sanusi’s missing money allegation, the talking monarch has started criticising the economic policy of the new administration of Pres Buhari. Sanusi wants the CBN to devalue Naira – the Nigerian currency.

However, Emir Sanusi has been reminded by some financial analysts that he refused to devalue the Naira during his time as the CBN governor. So, now, what changed? As we know that Sanusi behaves like a talking Tom; he must be echoing somebody or some people. And so, who is the talking monarch echoing?

Well, on 10/June/2015, Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and Black Rhino fund managers appointed Emir Sanusi as the Chairman of its Board of Directors.

And considering that JPMorgan Chase removed Nigeria from its local-currency emerging-market bond indexes due to the restrictions the CBN placed on foreign exchange transactions, Sanusi obviously is echoing Black Rhino. Black Rhino would want a situation where Naira is left to the forces of demand and supply.

That’s the story of the talking monarch. Emir Sanusi’s only concern is his vested interest. He attacked former Pres Jonathan with his alleged missing US$20 billion to satisfy the opposition party at the time. He was rewarded with kingship. Now he is attacking Pres Buhari’s economic policy to satisfy his current employers – Black Rhino.

Emir Sanusi has developed the habit of throwing caution to the wind in pursuit of his pecuniary interests. As a CBN governor, he didn’t mind if his utterances would damage Nigeria’s economy so long as he achieved his aim. And he doesn’t care if his actions would demean the exalted position of Emir of Kano.

In all, everywhere in the world, monarchs don’t get involve in politics and if they have to speak they do so through a third party. But Emir Sanusi has decided to trash decorum to become his own opposition party.

Hence, we wish him a successful reign as a Talking Monarch if that’s how he wants to be remembered. And we will perhaps recommend that Talking Tom is replaced with Sanusi - the Talking Monarch, in order to immortalise his name.