Outgoing governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has been likened to the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, the former manager of Manchester United, by Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
Jim O’neill is best known for coining the acronym “BRIC”, which stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China – the four countries that symbolise the economic power shift from the G7 countries, US, UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, France and Japan.
Describing Sanusi as “extraordinarily talented”, O’Neill said: “I part think of him as the Alex Ferguson of central banking,” referring to the former Manchester United manager who is the most successful coach in British history.
“He’s a tough act to follow,” O’Neill added during a speech in Lagos, Nigeria.
Other economists who have paid tribute to Sanusi’s talents include Samir Gadio, a strategist at Standard Bank Group in London. He said: “Sanusi has been ready to tighten monetary policy when needed.”
“We are going into an election in less than 16 months, so what we expect is that for the next year, fiscal policy will be significantly expansionary, and if not checked by the central bank, it could result in increased pressure on the exchange rate.”
President Jonathan is yet to give any indication of who will be the next governor. Potential candidates included Sanusi’s four deputies – Sarah Alade, Suleiman Barau, Tunde Lemo and Kingsley Moghalu – as well as Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the chief executive of Access Bank, Nigeria’s fifth-biggest lender.
“In terms of international credibility, there’s not someone who is his equal who could take over,” said Ronak Gadhia, a research analyst at London-based Exotix. “There is a risk the authorities might try to appoint a governor they can control,” Gadio said further.
Appointed in 2009 during a debt crisis, Sanusi oversaw a 620 billion naira bank bailout and sacked the chief executives of eight of the country’s 24 banks after an audit found evidence of mismanagement and reckless lending.
He is an economist by training and a former chief executive of First Bank of Nigeria.
When he left, he said in an interview in November, he planned to take a short break, perhaps study Mandarin, before ideally working at a think tank focusing on economic policymaking in Africa. – Bloomberg