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Who will be my Successor? Sanusi Revealed

Sanusi Lamido, Central Bank Governor
Sanusi Lamido, Central Bank Governor

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, due to step down as CBN boss in June, said whoever will be picked by President Goodluck Jonathan to take over at the apex bank must be able to develop the market.

Sanusi spoke at the weekend of the qualities expected of his successor.

“Central banking has changed. I think the market has developed. To be honest, if any Central Bank Governor misbehaves, the market punishes the economy immediately. So, the market is a major factor. Even as a governor, by the time your capital market crashes, and your currency goes down, you will know that it is either you restore stability, or you are out of the job. That’s important,” he said.

Sanusi, who has said he would not seek reappointment at the expiration of his five-year tenure, spoke at the weekend during the Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR) fifth anniversary in Lagos.

He said: “Now, tomorrow (yesterday), it will be six months to the end of my tenure. Probably a bit early to be talking about the next Central Bank governor, but I do hope that about two-three months before then, there should be some announcements; I suppose. Central bank governors don’t make comments on who they think the person should be. It is not my business to do that. It’s the President’s decision.”

He said although names of his likely successors were already in public view, new candidates might emerge before the announcement.

Analysts have tipped some of the CBN deputy governors among Sanusi’s likely successor. Deputy Governor, Operations, Tunde Lemo; Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, Sarah Alade; and Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Kingsley Moghalu have been mentioned. Also linked with the job are: Managing Director, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustafa Chike-Obi; Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria, Bisi Onasanya and Managing Director, Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukuede.

Sanusi said it would be good for his successor to be named on time. “If I have anything to say, I would want to encourage that we announce two to three months before the end of my tenure so that everybody knows who that person is and what his views are,” he said.

On the economy, Sanusi spoke of the need to invest in areas that promote growth, adding that progress is being made in the power sector reforms.

“If you want to invest in the economy, then you need to invest in areas that create growth. And there are a lot of things to look out for. First, where is the government budget and where are we spending money? Nigerians have to decide whether to invest short term or long term. We want to enjoy cheap petrol, but the money subsidising petrol is the money that could go into education. It could go into infrastructure. It could go into power. It’s a choice,” he said.

Sanusi said low interest rate alone cannot foster growth, unless it is accompanied by structural reforms. “And even if you have very low interest rate, that will not create growth and services without structural reforms. I always tell people, I am only the governor of the Central Bank; I am not the Minister of Agriculture or Minister of Education. I am not the Minister of Finance. I am not the Minister of Industry. We have to continue to improve services across the entire value-chain for growth to happen,” he said.

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