Saturday, 11 May 2019

Sanusi persecuted me thinking I wanted his job at CBN - Cecilia Ibru

Former chief executive officer of the defunct Oceanic Bank, Cecilia Ibru, says she was persecuted by  then governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi, because he thought she wanted his job.

In an interview with Saturday Punch, Ibru said Sanusi, now the emir of Kano, also ordered for the withdrawal of her personal driver and security personnel.

In 2010, a federal high court in Lagos had convicted and sentenced Ibru to six months in prison on a three-count charge bordering on financial fraud.

The former bank CEO said she accepted the offer for plea bargain because she was fed up with the trial and wanted peace of mind.

“For me, they just wanted the banks. An envious fight does not end, but that is a big story that I would prefer to write about later. You find that when people knock you down, they don’t expect you to get up again. So, when you get up, they have mixed feelings,” Ibru said.

“I won’t say betrayal, including (Lamido) Sanusi (the then Governor of the Central Bank) himself, but people that I thought would come and help me did not do so. However, God raised other people to help me.

“He (Sanusi) thought I wanted his job but I didn’t. I was offered the position, but I said no.

“Remember I said I was planning to retire in March of the following year to go and stay with my husband. When he (Sanusi) was appointed, I congratulated him. He even told me at that time they had not given him a letter and I told him not to worry that it would come.

“Back then when I was in office, if I was at home, you wouldn’t find a parking space in my compound; it was always filled with cars and people who wanted one favour or the other from the bank. But after that episode, everywhere became empty.”

Ibru, however, reiterated that she has forgiven the people she helped while she was in office but deserted her when the corruption trial began.

The court had ordered the assets and shares worth N191 billion traced to Ibru be forfeited and managed by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

On what she has been up to since leaving the banking sector, Mrs Ibru said:

"I would say I have been retooling and reinventing myself by taking on new challenges. I’m in the education sector now, which I think is worth going into, because everything about development revolves around education. If done properly, our nation will not be complaining too much because human capital would have been well developed. So, that is where I am now and it’s like an experiment for me.

"My late husband (Michael Ibru) and I started with nursery, kindergarten, primary, secondary and now a university. We are trying to raise talents in a way that it would produce excellence because education across the world is not commensurate with the speed at which we are growing here.

"We cannot expect people to become champions overnight without being nurtured and trained, even if they have the right talents. That informed part of what we are doing with the Michael and Cecilia Ibru University."

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