We all know Collin Powell, The US Secretary of State at the most unfortunate time of Bush Jr. Powell is the black kid that made the white house cool. On the Nigerian side, Sanusi Lamido is the Present Central Bank Governor in Nigeria. The Banker Magazine have awarded Lamido with awards of Central Bank Governor of the year, for Africa and the World. Lamido has always been known for his one-man verbal skirmishes, but now his attackers are from all age ranges due to his position on Islamic Banking; or rather, his attackers position on the issue.
What some may not know about Colin Powell is that “white” people like him; not just the ones in the “white” house. Based on accounts, this is basically what they were saying about him “ooooh I like Collin Powell, he is articulate” (just quoting here). Obama must have taken away his groupies by now. Anyway, the condescending tone brought with it hymns of indignation by some “blacks”. They resented the patronising comment on their fellow “black” brotha. Their response goes like: “… like he aint s’pose t’know how to express himself cuz he black?!”
… in Nigeria
Well… a similar thing is happening in Nigeria on Sanusi Lamido; hardly a crush, more like pulling back animosity. In the space of the heated debate on Islamic Banking, pulling animosity is love, big time. This is expressed with a sigh of sacrifice; sacrificing one’s superiority by promoting Lamido to the same literacy class as the commentators. It is deja vu. One would think it was a stereotypical naive western liberal trying so hard to be politically correct against the will of a suppressed desire for an honest comment.
How patronising the Nigerians commented on Lamido, after a Video Interview on Sahara Reporters. It must have been impressive to his audience to hear him speak English, but to see him hold the interview via Skype was almost a technological blasphemy; Some are probably convinced that he had his secretary set up Skype for him. These keep up appearing on online forums, allow me to paraphrase: “He speaks good English”… “He can express himself”… “Don’t you know he studied abroad?”… “He has some points”… “I’m impressed”.
Just as Collin Powell represented Black America to his commentators, Sanusi Lamido represents Northern Nigeria to these commentators. In no way does the analogy suggest that non-Northern Nigerians degrade Northern Nigerians… Not quite, It is more accurate to say that non-Northern Nigerians undermine the capacity of the Northern Nigerians. To be fair, I think the feeling is mutual. But that is not the focus of this post.
The focus of this post is how Sanusi Lamido has fulfilled the prophecy of the underestimated public figure based on his tribe. Colin Powell did. George Bush did not, he was probably rightly estimated. Obama is definitely not one. Let there come another (a non-Northern Nigerian) who fulfils this prophecy and his chronicles shall be immortalised on this page.