Former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to go ahead with the move to relocate selected departments from Abuja headquarters to Lagos.
The former CBN Governor, in a statement on Thursday, deemed the move as “eminently sensible,” citing the larger infrastructure capacity in the Lagos office.
The apex bank’s decision to relocate some of its departments from Abuja to Lagos had ignited controversies in the past weeks, particularly from the Northern political class.
They argued that such relocation may exacerbate economic disparities between the North and South.
Sanusi advised the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, against yielding to political pressures surrounding the contentious move.
“My advice to the governor is to go ahead with his policy. Once the CBN starts bending to political pressure on one thing, it will continue doing so.
“Northern politicians will shout that this is moving from Abuja to Lagos. Abuja is a federal capital, not a northern issue. So long as this is a principled decision the noise should be ignored.
“When I was about to get my license at Jaiz Bank there was a lot of religious noise from CAN, etc. Even enlightened people like Okey Emelamah were going to sue me in court on religious grounds. I ignored it and licensed the bank. Nothing happened.
According to the former CBN, a Christian governor after him licensed at least two more non-interest banks.
“No one is even noticing again. Ethnic and religious bigots will always shout. The CBN should rise above it and just do what needs to be done. It is a very unpopular and difficult job and the Governor needs to be tough,” he noted.
Sanusi revealed that he had contemplated a similar move during his tenure as CBN governor but was unable to execute the plan due to time constraints.
“In my mind, what I would have done was to move FSS and most operations to Lagos such that the two Deputy Governors would be largely operating out of Lagos or, even if they were more in Abuja, the bulk of their operational staff would be in Lagos.
“Economic policy, Corporate services, and all the departments reporting to the governor directly such as strategy, audit, risk management, governors’ office, etc., would remain in Abuja.
“It makes eminent strategic sense. And I would have done this if I had stayed.”
He dismissed the opposition against the policy as “absolutely unnecessary” because “The CBN has staff manning its branches and cash offices across the federation.”
The former emir also dismissed claims regarding the inadequacy of office structure in handling staff numbers, challenging assertions that the current capacity is insufficient.
He suggested that renowned construction company Julius Berger could provide clarification if needed.
He contended that the current challenge lied in employees, many of whom are children of politically exposed individuals, prioritizing their Abuja lifestyle and businesses over their roles at the CBN.