How Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala Recants Her Decision to Resign

You may have heard that the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala tendered her letter of resignation on Wednesday, 18th February, but was rejected by President Goodluck Jonathan. You may have heard also that the minister has out rightly denied resigning, describing the report as false and mischievous. The poser is this- if the minister tendered her letter to resign from Jonathan’s cabinet and President Jonathan was able to convince her to stay promising to resolve the issue that necessities her decision to resign, do you expect the minister to accept that she actually resigned or tendered a letter of resignation?

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria was yesterday suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan for what was described as his financial recklessness and misconduct. What needs to be known however is that Sanusi’s suspension did not just happen for what they made us to understand. It is the outcome of many under dealings.

All through Wednesday night, President Jonathan and members of his kitchen cabinet, had  a hectic time trying to work out a damage  control measure to counter the back lash on the removal of the Central Bank Governor, Malam  Sanusi Lamido  Sanusi, following the public outcry that they know will trail the announcement of his suspension from office.

Part of the plan was to have Sanusi arrested as soon as he arrived the country from Niger Republic where he had gone to attend a meeting of West African Central Bank Governor. However, this plan by the presidency was jolted by the revelations from the National Assembly, where the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Madueke, claimed a whopping N700Million were spent daily on kerosene subsidy.

It was on the basis of the revelation that the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, threatened to throw in the towel, as “her international reputation is at stake following the revelations from NNPC”

But this decision by the minister didn’t go down well with the president, who according to our source personally pleaded with Iweala to stay, assuring that whatever is needed to be done will be done to clear the mess in NNPC. Part of that mess happened to be Sanusi who raised the issue in the first instance.

Sanusi had blown open, the claim by the NNPC claim that it had been paying subsidy on kerosene, contrary to a standing presidential fiat during the Yar’Adua years that removed subsidy on kerosene. That same day, Sanusi revealed that there was another $20 billion unremitted into the Federation Account between January 2012 and July 2013, which NNPC had yet to account for.

To mitigate the damage of Sanusi’s removal, the presidency allegedly directed the media office and the Minister of finance to further allay the fear that Sanusi was not removed from office for any political expediency. That was why the Minister few hours after Sanusi was suspended addressed the media on give assurance to all concerned. Everything was pre-arranged.

She insisted during the press briefing that the development at the CBN, involving the sudden removal of the Governor will not change the economic policy focus of the government.

But the damage control by the coordinating minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, came  late as the removal of Sanusi took its toll on the finance market.

Barely 24 hours after, the announcement of Sanusi’s suspension, the money market stood still. Website of the financial market Dealers Association which is today the platform of the money market bond was said to have experienced market shut down.

The market capitalization shed N186.59b, representing 1.47 percent loss.

It is not clear how far the President intends to go in the assurance he gave the Minister of Finance that all that needed to be done will be done to clear the mess, but if information available to us is anything to go by, there are possibilities that heads may role in the NNPC.

What needs to be know however is that a lot of the happenings surrounding the suspension of the CBN Governor has been carefully planned and pre-arranged.

The suspended CBN Governor himself attest to this when he berated President Jonathan’s attitude to corruption, saying his exposure of financial misappropriation by Nigeria’s state owned oil firm, NNPC, put him in the bad books of the President.

Sanusi, further stated that it was ironical for the Federal Government to accuse him of financial recklessness while the account of NNPC has not been audited since 2005, spanning eight years’’

“ The minister of petroleum, spoke live on Television before the National Assembly, admitting that she spent $35billion of Tax payers’ money on kerosene subsidy without budget approval, but nothing has been done” Sanusi said.

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