Sanusi Lamido’s Suspension: The Untold Story
The suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria may not have come as a surprise to many who are privy to goings around the government, especially given the desperation of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ever since the CBN Governor blew a lid on a certain $49.8 billion oil revenue which the NNPC allegedly did not remit to the Federation Account, the presidency has heigthened moves to oust Sanusi. Sanusi’s revelation was contained in a letter he wrote to the President last September, but was leaked to the press in December.
Although Sanusi later capitulated when he agreed during a reconciliation meeting with the Finance Minister, Petroleum Minister and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, that the missing money was no longer $49.8 billion, but $10.8 billion, the President felt a damage calculated at his government has already been done and therefore wants the CBN boss out.
Early in January, President Goodluck Jonathan had called him on phone early last month and mandated him to proceed on his terminal leave which was due to commence in March. Jonathan accused Sanusi of leaking the letter he wrote him about the missing $49.8b to former President Olusegun Obasanjo – who in a widely circulated open letter accused the president of trying to destroy Nigeria among other charges – had cited Sanusi’s letter which, by that time, was not yet in public domain. Sanusi reportedly rebuffed the president, reminding him that constitutionally, the CBN governor can only be sacked by a resolution of the legislature.
This development drew condemnations from different quarters, especially financial experts who believed that Jonathan’s action might send a wrong signal to the international community and will inturn affect the already dwindling economy of the country. This interventions led to the resolution of the dispute between President Jonathan and Sanusi Lamido and an agreement to allow Sanusi run out its term was agreed.
The dust generated by the revelation of Sanusi and the ensuing disagreement was yet to fully settle when on February 4, during a Senate Hearing on un-remitted oil revenue, Sanusi blew another lid open on NNPC’s 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. The 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.
Sanusi’s latest revelation have remained in the front burner of public discourse in the last two weeks, drawing condemnation from Nigerians on the wide scale of corruption going on in the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, with a resolution reached by the Senate to commence hearing on the Kerosene subsidy through which millions of Nigerians have been ripped off by an organized subsidy syndicate.
It was this last straw that broke the camel’s back for Sanusi as sources within the presidency and the syndicate involved in the organised scam began moves to remove the CBN Governor from office. The syndicate is however constrained by Section 11, sub-section 2 the CBN act which states that the president can only remove the bank’s governor ‘provided that the removal shall be supported by two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be so removed.’
The organised cabal however took advantage in the silence of the CBN act on the suspension of a CBN Governor and suspended the governor on the ground of financial recklessness and irregularities committed Sanusi.
Announcing the suspension of the CBN governor Thursday morning, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, cited a report by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other investigating bodies which investigated and indicted the CBN governor for for financial recklessness and misconduct inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline, but insider information revealed that the report is an arrangement just to indict the governor.
A source said the suspension is the brainchild of the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison Maduekwe who has never had it easy with Sanusi Lamido especially against the backdrop of the his revelations which directly or indirectly indicts the minister. Sanusi however is believed to have the support of the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who herself is not comfortable with the way the Petroleum Minister has been handling the affairs of the petroleum ministry. Her support however could not weigh down the persecution of Sanusi as the forces against him are too powerful than she is.
Already, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Zenith Bank PLC, Mr Godwin Emefiele has been agreed as replacement for Sanusi. Abusidiqu have it on good authority that I have it on good authority that Zenith Bank’s MD’s name has been forwarded to senate for confirmation.
As part of plans to deal with Sanusi for exposing the government, a source said the CBN Governor, who is away on official assignment; may be arrested on arrival in Abuja in a bid to stop him from challenging the presidential directive to stay away from his office.
The governor who is away from the country attending a three-day meeting of the West African Central Bank Governors in company of other Central Bank Officials, including Sarah Alade, the highest ranking Deputy Governor of the regulatory body whom the president ordered he hands over to was suspended in absentia.
Sanusi’s suspension nonetheless, Nigerians are waiting to see how the government will pursue the latest discovery that a humongous amount of money was spent to subsidize a product that ordinary Nigerians still buy at over 300% the subsidised price, agaisnt the directive of late president Umar Yar’adua suspended payment on subsidy. It is also expected that the government will commence the immediate prosecution of Mr Sanusi if it is proved that he committed the crime alleged. In as much as Nigerians believe the CBN governor was axed because he exposed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as an harbinger of corruption and financial mismanagement, no fraud of any kind must be swept under the carpet.
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