Overcoming The Fear Of Vested Interest.

The Governor of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi recently spoke at TEDxYouth at Maitama about overcoming the fear of vested interest in the country. I suppose everybody knows about TED or at least have heard something like 'TED talks' from time to time. For the benefit of those who haven't, TED  (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan "ideas worth spreading". More about TED and what it really is can be read here or here. It's a very enlightening platform and I just like to, once in a while listen to brilliant minds. TEDx is a part of the main TED. 

I don't know much about Sanusi, except that he once  fired several Bank CEOs and many people thought he was crazy. I never for once thought he was as straightforward and exceptionally thorough as he was in the video above. Our political system in Nigeria is full of many bad eggs that should be thrown into the thrash. I bring you good news; there are some good eggs albeit a few. Now, when I started to listen to his talk, it sounded like the usual cliche; Nigeria-has-many-corrupt-people-so-lets-just-sit-still-and-watch-them-'chop'-it-all, I had no intention whatsoever of listening to the entire thing. But then, he caught my attention somehow later on. Thinking about it now, I had of course, heard about the things he spoke about before but I'm not sure there was as much clarity as in his TEDx talk. He started by explaining how Nigeria has great potential yada yada, he proceeded to explain how we export things we don't have and import things that we have. I wanted to close the page at that point, when he started to talk about the period he became Chief of Central Bank and how Bank CEOs had personalized the banks. 
"...they had taken away depositors money to buy property all over the world and just like people do in ministries, government agencies or whenever they have opportunities in oil companies, the banks were themselves a..."  
At that point, I decided to hear what he had to say. 

Ladies and gentlemen, this Oil issue is a serious one. I do not understand how a country's natural resource can turn around to be the root of all her problems. It is disheartening. Sanusi cited an example of a CEO of one of those banks (I suppose he was talking about Ibru) that took away over 200 BILLION Naira (over a billion dollars). Gasp. Gasp again. 200 billion, what does one human being need all that for? Purchase of property; 200 pieces of real estate in Dubai, real estate in Johannesburg, shares in over 100 companies. At least, that's what she used it for. And according to Sanusi, all of that was purchased with stolen depositors' funds. Another CEO got a judgement for 140 billion Naira in UK. How can a single human being embezzle all of that. *Shudders*  Now, if this same human being worked hard or got the money by virtue of his/her intelligence, great! But when you take so much money that doesn't even belong to you... It's scary because, there is a type of mentality now that you can not make enough money legitimately. Everywhere you turn in Nigeria, there is a sort of fraudulent thing going on. Look deep into the richest men/women's financial sources and there may probably be something manipulative or worse, embezzlement. I believe in hard-work a lot and I've seen it work for people, except that these people aren't Nigerians. I am not saying everybody is a thief, there are successful people in Nigeria who have made lots of money through hard work too. However, they are few and right now I can't think of any Nigerian billionaire who made it very legitimately. Outside Nigeria on the other hand, there are tons of them; The owners of Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Google, Apple are just a few. Marisa Mayer (My latest champion and role model) did not start up any company, she is just an extremely hard-working, determined and focused person who made it to the top. Her story teaches me that you do NOT need to be an ass-kisser to make it up to the top. She is the current CEO of Yahoo. I could talk about her for days but I won't, not now at least. My point is, why is hard-work not encouraged in Nigeria? Why do we believe in 'fast-money'? Why are we so unsatisfied with whatever we legitimately make? On the other hand though, things like The Future Awards remind me that there is so much HOPE. But I also fear that there has always been 'so much hope' since the days of our fathers. By the way, the non-Nigerians above may not be billionaires but they are EXTREMELY rich.

Sanusi further mentioned that one of the CEOs' criminal case had been established  and two weeks before the final judgement, the judge was 'miraculously' promoted to the federal court of appeal after three years of trial, at the very END of the trial. Why? Because someone manipulated the system. Yes, we are right back to this manipulation menace. The same system that is meant to protect the citizens (some of whom were depositors in the Bank) promoted  a judge so that he would not convict a thief. What kind of a society reaches its potentials with all of these horrible situations? While trying to bring a reform to the banking sector, Sanusi said there were many decisions that had to be made. Most of those decisions would pitch him against powerful political and economic forces; people that had become invincible. People that believed nobody could touch them. I mean, Sanusi said he was warned against such people, because he could be sacked or worse, killed. To be honest, I do not think, there are countries where some of these things don't happen. But, I doubt it is this severe in more developed countries. Thankfully, Sanusi managed to get some of the corrupt CEOs sacked, prosecuted and their properties were confiscated. But, like he said the Banking industry is just one part of the many parts of Nigeria. You should listen to his detailed explanation (with figures) about the fuel subsidy and how the people guilty are still cruising around in their fancy cars, FREE. The amount of oil theft in Nigeria is disgusting. So, how can there be development? How? with so much vested interest in the country? not at all. The problem is that none of these people have been confronted, mostly because people are too scared to confront them. Sanusi threw it back to us, the youths, challenging us, he asked why the 65 million youths in Nigeria would not rise up to the occasion of saving her. He said we are more intelligent than the old folks anyway and all we have to do is agree on one person and vote that person President. He made it sound so easy. Perhaps, if about 40% of the 65 million youths weren't in the studio recording one crappy song or the other, or on Twitter making a fool of themselves, maybe it could be a more feasible agenda. I kid, I kid. Music is good business oh. Lol. Seriously though, all it takes is one visionary leader with a proper agenda on HOW to fix the country, whoever does, has got my vote. I'm not talking of a vague plan, I mean specifics regarding each sector and the recovery of the sectors. It just takes one visionary person with a good team on his/her side. I heard that Dubai was like a desert about 15-20 years ago, look at Dubai today. It takes one visionary. Sanusi admitted that there are people who benefit from the poverty and bad state that Nigeria is in and these people are called Vested Interest and as long as they remain entrenched and we don't overcome our fear of them, as long as we do not dislodge them, we are not going to find a solution to this problem and we're not going to reach our potentials. I'm going to end this post, with something Sanusi said that struck a chord with me.

"Banks do not fail. Saying banks have failed is like seeing a man with a slit throat and saying the man died. No, he did not die, he was killed"

P.s; Sorry it's really long.

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