Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Lamido Sanusi (Photo: Reuters)

What does a Central Bank governor do after leaving office? Many return to the private sector in some sort of consultancy role. Others, especially when they’re as outspoken as Nigeria’s banking chief Lamido Sanusi, tend to turn to politics. But Sanusi told Reuters in a recent interview he has no interest in politics and sees himself instead as something of a “public intellectual”. “I can do more good outside of government.”

To that end Sanusi says he plans to spend his time after the Central Bank writing his memoirs around the dark days of the Nigerian banking crisis in 2009. It’s not a priority right now, an aide tells us, but it’s something he’s thinking about.

Sanusi has received a lot of credit at home and around the world for his handling of the implosion of several major Nigerian banks which threatened to completely destabilize Africa’s most populous country.  On his watch the authorities also recovered millions of dollars in ill gotten gains from top bankers and had several arrested and jailed.

In his own words, speaking at the African Economic Forum at Columbia Business School in New York on Friday,he said Nigeria’s response to the banking crisis was similar to that of the United States and Europe  in one regard but very different in another:

“We also said our banks are too big to fail, but we then said our bankers are not too big to jail.”