Sanusi: When monarchy meets punditry …… NATION

Lamido-SanusiHelp, Hardball is confronted with a chicken and egg dilemma here! In the matter of his Royal Majesty, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, one is at a loss as to what gives him the most pleasure: is it the monarchy as captured by the elaborate and colourful costume or high-end political and economic punditry delivered with mercurial flourish and earth-quaking effect?

Well to play the devil’s advocate, why can’t the feisty monarch enjoy the best of many worlds? That is, why can’t he be a grand monarch and a bombastic pundit? Especially in a country that is both a fledgling democracy and an emerging economy; that is in dire need of such dual omniscience (or omniscient duality, if you like), such multi-pronged talent is rare and in short supply.

But Hardball must counter this advocacy quickly in the sense that our serendipitous monarch will soon notice the tackiness, not to mention the encumbrances of changing quickly from the panoply of royal regalia into the western Keynesian mode of dark suits and bow tie.

In the meantime, Emir Sanusi did what seems like his first love penultimate Friday. At an event in Lagos, Sanusi had let it fly. Like a thoroughly agitated bottle of champagne popped with gusto, Sanusi was at his best. He had hit mercilessly at the mangers of Nigeria’s economy telling them to quit living in denial and rescue the economy from suffering the fate of humpty-dumpty. The twin government policies of protecting the naira and allowing subsidy in petroleum products must be stopped henceforth, he roared.

Hear him: “Does it make sense at this time for the government to continue paying petroleum subsidy? It does not, and we must say it…”

And hear him on the naira: “ Let’s stop being in denial, we cannot artificially hold up the currency,” noting that President Muhammadu Buhari who has been resisting the weakening of the naira needs help on the economy.

Here are a few more nuggets from, shall we call him the mundit? (when monarchy meets punditry): “When you need fiscal consolidation, when you cannot borrow, when you are not earning because oil prices are down, when you have shut down, especially those expense lines that have been known to the sights of those seeking rent. This fuel subsidy has to go.”

Here is some more: “We spent years deceiving ourselves, calling ourselves the 21st biggest economy in the world based on something called rebasing. We said our debt to GDP ratio was 11 per cent and that our ratio looked very good. Yes we have a debt to GDP ratio of 11 per cent, but we were spending 33 per cent of government revenue servicing debts.”

We all remember Sanusi as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who first revealed to us that the Senate (National Assembly) was guzzling 25 per cent of the federal budget.

Can we forget his epiphanic rifling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that led to his tumultuous ouster from his high perch at the CBN? That whistle he blew continues to ring and reverberate through the polity. Those who thought either the stool or the ‘change’ would have mellowed him must have been jolted by his recent outing.

Watch out, here comes the mundit!