The announcement was made on Monday, November 28th at the inaugural Forbes Africa Person of the Year awards ceremony organised by ABN Productions, at the Sky Restaurant, Eko Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.
The event was attended by high ranking officials and businessmen from Nigeria and across Africa, with the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola and the Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi delivering keynote addresses.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was named winner from a shortlist of five of Africa’s most influential personalities. According to the Managing Editor of Forbes Africa, Chris Bishop, “they have had significant influence on the events of 2011 on the African continent.” The shortlist includes: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, Africa’s first female Head of State; Pedro Veron Pires, former president of Cape Verde, who won the 2011 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership; Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, president of Dangote Group; and the late Professor Wangari Mathaai, Nobel Prize, Kenyan environmental and political activist.
Sanusi was selected by a judging panel, consisting of BBC Bureau Chief, Peter Burdon; CNBC Africa Chief Editor, Godfrey Mutizwa; Reuters Bureau Chief, Matthew Tostevin, Managing Editor Forbes Africa, Chris Bishop and Forbes Africa senior journalist, Vuyo Mvoko.
Beyond banking reforms, Sanusi has continued to act boldly and decisively on the policy front, and, in his capacity as economic adviser to the government, has been persistent in asking difficult questions relating to structural bottlenecks, in a bid to make vital non-oil sectors of the economy such as Agriculture and Power, commercially viable, a stance which has earned him both praise and controversy.
The Lex Column of the Financial Times (Nov 23rd 2011) stated: “Nigeria’s reformist Central Banker, Lamido Sanusi is not afraid of bold gestures to keep economic growth on track – and remind investors of policy intent. He has Nigerian banking reforms under his belt (and lenders aware of the need to finance productive economic activity). Now he has effectively devalued the naira, showing that he is prepared to use less subtle means of stoking up economic growth.”
In his acceptance speech, Mallam Sanusi said that “everything achieved as governor is a collective result of the five thousand hardworking workers of the Bank”.
By Bukky Olajide
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