The story of Nigeria's first half-century of Independence is a tale of wasted potential: sub-Saharan Africa's most populous country, home to its biggest oil riches, impoverished by thieving autocrats. A key reason a new Nigeria no longer seems fanciful is Central Bank governor Lamido Sanusi.
A veteran of an often corrupt banking industry, Sanusi, 49, took up his position at the height of the financial crisis in June 2009 and immediately turned on his former peers. He took over nine banks, sacked the chief executives of eight of them, ordered a series of mergers and named their biggest debtors. He was, he said, cleaning up not just banking but all Nigeria. Sanusi's will be a long fight and a dangerous one: death threats have obliged him to employ armed guards. But it is also essential for Africa's sleeping giant to finally awaken.