Stop Lamido Sanusi slush fund: lobbying, Nigeria style

Since President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua named Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Sanusi’s smooth sail through the Senate nomination process, there has been some disquiet in the top hierarchy of some banks.

The banks involved are those whose CEOs raised a whopping N2.5billion slush fund in their desperate attempt to stop Sanusi, then one of their colleagues, from becoming CBN governor.

The managing directors, led by a Delta State-born Igbo-speaking boss of a first generation bank that is also one of the biggest banks in Africa, were said to have raised the slush fund with this particular bank chief contributing N1billion.

The balance was raised by four other bank MDs, all of second generation banks.The slush fund was said to have been managed and shared by a leader of the PDP who currently holds the chairmanship of a plum parastatal.

This leader, who is a former friend of President Olusegun Obasanjo but now estranged from him, is highly respected by President Yar’Adua. This leader dutifully shared the money among top PDP men who are believed to be influential enough to prevail on President Yar’Adua to change his mind on Sanusi.

He even went further to tell the president that Sanusi did not support his election in 2007. All his efforts, together with the pressure from the suborned PDP chieftains, made no impact on the president who had long made up his mind about who to appoint CBN governor.

LEADERSHIP was the first newspaper to report that Yar’Adua had picked Sanusi for the job long before it was formally announced.

On May 29th, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, the chairman of First Bank, who is known to be quite close to Yar’Adua, went in to see the president to encourage him to stay firm on his intelligent choice of Sanusi.

LEADERSHIP SUNDAY learnt that the president assured the First Bank chairman that nothing would change his mind. He kept his word.

Seeing that his stratagem was headed for the rocks, the MD of the first generation bank that led the “Stop Sanusi” campaign changed gear and started making attempts to get one of his executive directors appointed as a deputy governor of the CBN. The name has already been submitted to the president.

As at press time, it was not certain whether the president will oblige the bank MD who was said to have contributed handsomely to his presidential campaign in 2007.

LEADERSHIP SUNDAY learnt that the desperate attempt by the five bank MDs to stop Sanusi was because they knew clearly that their sharp practices cannot stand Sanusi’s scrutiny as CBN governor.

Now that Sanusi has settled down to his job, and, seeing that it will no longer be business as usual, the current desperation among the bank MDs is to ensure that their N2.5billion is covered up effectively forever.

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