Some Nigerians on micro-blogging platform Twitter believe that Abubakar Suleiman is unfit as the CEO of Sterling Bank after he weighed in on an argument occasioned by the social media company’s decision to open its first African office in Ghana rather than Nigeria.
On Monday evening, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the tech giant was launching its first Africa office in Ghana.
Citing basis for its preference for Ghana, the company described Nigeria’s West African neighbour “as a champion for democracy, a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate.”
Twitter’s announcement stirred reactions from Nigerians, with some arguing that it is a win for West Africa, while others argued that the social media company sidestepped Nigeria due to its current situation.
They argued that Nigeria, being the giant of Africa “deserves to be home to the company,” but the country was overlooked due to widespread corruption, epileptic power supply, bad leadership, bad infrastructure and the general high-handedness of the Buhari regime.
Weighing in on the debate, Mr Suleiman, in a series of tweets, blamed Nigerians for always condemning the country, a practice he said was dissuading potential investors.
“First you tell the world Nigeria is a zoo,” the CEO said, while asking the citizens not to wonder why Ghana was chosen over the country,” the Sterling Bank chief said. “If you can’t sell yourself, nobody will buy you. Nigeria remains the heartbeat of Africa, our current struggles notwithstanding.”
In another tweet, Mr Suleiman said that “You replace a bad government & reform a broken country, not the other way round. It doubt that a bad government can be reformed by criticism but I am certain you can’t replace this country.”
He further derided Nigerians who slammed his ‘gaslighting’ tactics as too dumb to properly debate him on the issue, ignoring scores of comments that said President Muhammadu Buhari’s statist policies and disregard for human rights and judicial institutions were responsible for Nigeria’s failing economy and foreign investors’ disregard for Africa’s most populous country.
Some commentators said Mr Suleiman’s displayed an apparent lack of basic knowledge of how a modern democracy and economy should function, saying his executive position at Sterling Bank was based on affirmative action rather than merit.
“If Sterling Bank were a serious bank, Abubakar Suleiman would be out of job by now for bringing opprobrium to its good name. The effrontery is borne out of the fact that he’s planted there in fulfilment of federal character,” Twitter user @OdogwuOgbete said. “No MD of a serious bank dares engage in a public fight.”
“And if you’re looking for one case against statism, Abubakar Suleiman and Sterling Bank are one. The MD need not perform on the job. As long as he’s seen as loyal to the State, performance can take a long hike. That was how government-owned banks were run aground in the 80s,” the user added.
Another user, @TosinOlumide opined that Nigerian youths close down their Sterling Bank accounts for the CEO’s “disrespectful” manner.
“There is need for young people to close their accounts in Sterling bank. These guys who became fortunate through the instrumentality of the faulty system can’t continue to talk in a disrespectful manner without consequences,” he tweeted.
Mr Abubakar, 48, has been CEO of Sterling Bank since 2018. He obtained his first degree from the University of Abuja and his master’s from Oxford.
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