When President Buhari’s policy got Sanusi’s applause

The new economic team put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari has received the nod of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, who was perceived as one of the worst critics of the president. BASHIR MOHAMMED writes that the monarch bore his mind recently.

At the time the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, opened the floodgate of criticism against the economic policies of President Muhammadu Buhari at the beginning of this dispensation, hell was let loose by those who viewed such a criticism as a subtle ploy orchestrated to discredit the president.

The president, according to the monarch, came on board at the time Nigeria was at the threshold of serious economic mess, seeking a balance of sanity in the economic sphere that requires the intervention of a formidable think-tank to advise the president on ways out of the economic fog.

Those in the fore-front of pouring invectives against the Emir have forgot the fact that Sanusi is widely acclaimed to be an international wizard in the economic field, whose knowledge of  economic statecraft is widely applauded and revered by notable gurus in the field of economics across the globe.

 For what the western world saw in him, cutting across the frontiers of seven leading industrial democracies comprising Britain, America, Italy, France, Canada, China, Germany and Japan, the monarch had been on stage preaching the gospel of economic reforms to those in need of his economic acumen.

Emir Sanusi himself, had for the umpteenth time cried foul anytime his incisive comments and advice are distorted in a cynical way by some sections of the press, the result for which he almost adopted a taciturn posture on commenting about the economic policies of the federal government which is always predicated on the premise of the vast knowledge he has acquired in economic field.

It was, however, his contention that even the great powers of the world were able to rise to popularity in the economic sphere because of the wise counsel they have benefitted from world leading economists like Marshal Goldman, John Mynard Kings, Kenneth Gaibraith and Adam Smith whose knowledge, he said, was explored to the advantage of their respective countries.

However, with President Buhari eventually realising the futility of the defunct National Economic Management team, his eleventh hour reconstitution of the new advisory economic council which comprised time-tested economists, academics and notable figures in the field, Emir Sanusi, according to Blueprint investigation now appears vindicated on his earlier pronouncements that the economic policies of the president were inept, lopsided and devoid of coherency.

According to the monarch, his criticisms on such policies were not borne out of his penchant to smite the personality of the president or a perfected plan to discredit his leadership; rather it was born out of his concern to reposition the country on a robust and sound economic pedestal in line with best global practices.

With the reconstitution of the economic council by the president, the Emir has now seen the compelling need to praise the president for such a laudable decision at the time the country is in dire need of surgical economic excision.

It was the opinion of the monarch that the council comprising first-rate ‎professionals and academics is the much- needed professional think-tank that would be geared towards formulating and charting a new policy direction for the nation economically, stressing that charting such a course is not the business of green horns in the all-important field of managing the economy.

His appraisal

‎Emir Sanusi wasted no time in convening a world press conference at his palace to bare his mind on the reconstituted council for the most cynical forces to comprehend the simple fact that he has no axe to grind with the presidency and that his advice is in the overall interest and survival of the nation.

The Emir, ‎who described the new council as ‘first class’ said, “The move is timely and reflective of Buhari’s determination to re-energise the management of the economy.”

He said Nigerians are highly desirous of such an effective and knowledge-driven team to provide the lead on the economic front.‎

According to him, “The beauty of the team, apart from the pedigree of its members, is their private sector experience and their independence.‎

“If you look at the system we operate, if you also look at the United States, every US president always has a council of economic advisers.

“One of the reasons you have this council is that you want independent academics that are able to give you frank and honest ‎advice on how to run the economy and address its problems.

‎“What the president has done is to follow that pattern to appoint a team of highly respected professionals to advise him, ‎especially‎ this time when we have economic problems and fiscal issues.

“When global economy is facing uncertainty due to trade wars, it is important that the president has a high quality advice,” he said.

Sanusi said that advisers and ‎economists praise things done positively and recommend areas of improvement.

According to him, the team put together is fantastic as he has worked with most of them at different times.

“I have not been critical of government economic policies; what I have always done is to say the things that they have done right and offer advice to things that need to be done,” he said.

The royal father said that the team was balanced with the combination of ‎Charles Soludo, Mohammed Sagagi, Doyin Salami and Shehu Yahaya, who are highly respected professionals.

“We have experts in different fields like monetary policy, fiscal policy, development and financial market; it’s a good step in the right direction,” he said.

“The issue of border closure is also much expedient, considering the huge loss being suffered by Nigeria at the expense of the interest of our neighbours within the African Sub-region. They are the only ones benefitting at the expense of our national interest.”

With the monarch praising the president to high heavens on the latest development, it had also elicited some discordant tunes most especially in political circles, where such praises were widely interpreted in many ways.

Right step in the right direction – Analysts

According to a renowned political commentator in Kano, Alhaji Bashir Hayatu Gentile, those castigating the Emir are myopic in their calculation as they have forgotten to see things beyond their nose pointing out that it is the responsibility of a professional like Emir Sanusi to pin-point where the economic pendulum goes berserk.

He said “To me, people are only crying wolf where there is none; it is just a matter of advising the federal government on what should be done to get out of the mess. We are in a democratic setting and the federal government needs a wise professional counsel to forge ahead.

“The issue is not political as it was misconstrued to mean. With the reconstitution of the new economic think-tank, the Emir is vindicated and is not picking holes on the economic policy of the federal government out of primordial interest. We need to start thinking out of the box and stop a wild goose.” he added.

“For what I know of the Emir, what he is saying as regards the issue of eulogising the president is right from the bottom of his heart. His view is conceptualised within the confines of his professional knowledge. There is no inkling of politics in it,” he affirmed.

However, in the words of a renowned economist and banker, Malam Aminu Idris Fagge, Nigeria’s economy is in urgent need of fine-tuning and re-engineering in line with the modern indices of global economic trends. He pointed out that no nation can ever develop and fully attain the height of greatness without encapsulating cohesive policy blueprint towards harnessing its economic potentials properly.

According to him, even the most developed world depend on formidable economic think-tank to forge ahead, stressing that the decision taken by President Buhari to clean the Augean Stable is the right step in the right direction and at the right time for meaningful progress to be attained.

Generally, it is the contention of notable pundits in the economic field that the reconstitution of the council would greatly serve as a catalyst at injecting succour into what they describe as the ramshackle economic system which must be changed for greater result to be achieved.

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