Chief Joseph Oladele SANUSI, CON
Former GOVERNOR, CENTRAL BANK of NIGERIA
Born on September 24, 1938 in Ogbagi Akoko, Ondo State, Chief Joseph Sanusi studied at the South-west London College and Kingston College of Technology, England from 1962-1965, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN) in 1969 and became Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Bankers in 1987.
He commenced his career as an accountant in England, later joined the Department of Customs and Excise in Nigeria. He joined the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1966 as a Deputy Manager and later became a Departmental Director in 1977 and the Chief Executive of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1978. He later became the Executive Director, Monetary and Banking Policy in 1979 and Deputy Governor in 1988.
Joseph Sanusi left the CBN to become the Managing Director/CEO of the United Bank for Africa in 1990, then MD/CEO of First Bank Plc in 1992. He was also Vice Chairman of Nigeria Merchant Bank and Chairman of Banque Internationale du Benin before his retirement in 1998. His major achievement in First Bank was the transformation of the bank under the Century 2 project which was commissioned under his leadership.
Fate however drafted him again into public service at the commencement of the civilian era in 1999. He was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by the then President-elect, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and he resumed the same day the President was sworn in on May 29, 1999. He assembled his team of “eggheads” as Deputy Governors, a perfect mix of public and private sector experts of Messrs O.S. Oduyemi and Mahey Rasheed, both from within the CBN while Dr Shamsudeen Usman and Ernest C. Ebi were invited from the private sector.
The Central Bank made remarkable progress under his leadership, some of which are the following:
- The external reserve rose from $4.98bn in May 1999 to $10.08bn in May 2004.
- Project EAGLES was established with the aim to refocus the CBN, post-military era, and develop strategy for achieving the statutory mandate of the Bank by restructuring to change its operating philosophy and business processes.
- Full deregulation under the Inter-Bank Foreign Exchange Market (IFEM). IFEM was introduced in October 1999.
- The Retail Dutch Auction System, (rDAS) was re-introduced in 2002 following the failure of the old mechanisms of exchange rate determination that had been implemented to achieve the specified objectives. The system enhanced professionalism in the conduct of the foreign exchange market.
- The Nigerian Automated Clearing System (NACS) became operational in October 2002. Clearing cycles for up-country, Intra-country and local instruments were shortened considerably. Intra-state instrument was abolished in 2003 and the cycle for local cheques became T+2.
- New settlement framework was developed in April 2004 categorising banks into settlement and non-settlement banks. This reduced the Bank’s exposure and the use of high powered money, which is inflationary. It also instilled market discipline in participants within the payments system.
- Guidelines on e-banking were developed and issued in 2003. This formed the foundation for the CBN promotion and regulation of electronic payments.
- Adoption of Universal Banking in 2001 due to the need to provide a level-playing field for banks and the desire to strengthen their capacity to fund commercial and industrial activities, through the diversification of their product and services.
- Debt Management Office (DMO) was incubated by the CBN in 2002 for the purpose of providing a one-stop shop for clearing all Nigerian Government debts at all level.
- West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) was introduced in 2001 as an interim institution with the goal of monitoring the macroeconomic performance of the member countries and submission of the reports periodically to the convergence Council of Ministers and Governors.
- Bank of Industry (BoI) was inaugurated in May 2002 with the core mandate of accelerating the pace of industrial growth with a view to promoting national economic development.
- Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange (ASCE) came into being through the conversion of the Abuja Stock Exchange (ASE) in 2001.
- Trust Form Model (TFM) was introduced in 2001 as a strategy for reducing the exposure of banks that granted uncollateralised agricultural loans to small scale farmers, as well as facilitate their access to credit.
- The Interest Drawback Programme (IDP) was introduced in 2003 to reduce the effective borrowing rate under the ACGS, without the complication of introducing dual interest rates.
Sanusi should also be credited with the banking sector initiative in financing the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME). He led the banking sector delegation (as part of the Presidential Team) to Singapore and Indonesia in 2003 mainly to study how the Asian Tigers had been able to support the SMEs to power the impressive growth recorded in this region in the past decades. The trip was an eye-opener and soon afterwards, the Bankers’ Committee established the popular Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment Scheme (SMEEIS) which has gone a long way in supporting Nigeria’s SME, a feat still being sustained by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee today.
He retired from the CBN in May 2004 but continued to contribute his quota to nation building. He was appointed to the board of Lafarge Cement Wapco, a cement manufacturing company in Nigeria, owned by Lafarge of Paris. He has also served as Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank, First Pension Funds Custodian, Santrust Securities, STI Consulting and Global Biofuels.
Among the international and local awards for this great achiever are:
Banker Extra-ordinaire, University of Ibadan – 1990
Man of Achievement, Corporate Press Services Ltd – 1991
Dr. of Science (D.Sc) Honoris Causa, Federal University of Technology, Akure – 1995
Professional Leadership, Zik Prize – 2000
National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) – 2002
Doctor of Business Administration (Hon. DBA) University of Nigeria, Nsukka – 2003
Doctor of Science Honoris Causa, Federal University of Technology, Owerri – 2004
Dr. of Science (D.Sc) Honoris Causa, University of Port Harcourt – 2006
Knight of St. Christopher (KSC) – 2007
Dr. Sanusi’s overflowing achievements and success notwithstanding, he has not forgotten his background. He is the Baba Ijo of St John’s Anglican Church, Ogbagi and the Treasurer, Akoko Development Group. He also holds the prestigious title of Bashorun of Ile-Ife. He is also a member of Metropolitan and Ikoyi Clubs. Dr. Sanusi has impacted lives through his exemplary, honest, hardworking and simple lifestyle. He encouraged many to take up career in the public sector and as a good role model, contributed immensely to the service of his fatherland.
Chief Joseph Oladele Sanusi is a rare gem, a self-made man who has made his mark in the development of the financial sector of the economy. He is unapologetically passionate about humanity, passionate about the future, proud of his heritage as a Yoruba man and an ardent proponent for development.
He is a man of impeccable character and an outstanding gentleman.
DAWN Commission celebrates an Omoluabi par-excellence.