APC to Jonathan: Don`t force Lamido Sanusi out of office

Source: huhuonline.com

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to tread softly on his reported plan to force Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to resign, considering the potential impact of such forced exit on the nation's economy.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party observed that asking the CBN Governor to step down on the basis of a mere allegation that he leaked his letter to the President over the unremitted $49.8 billion oil revenue, does not bode well for an economy already on crutches.

It warned that any move to suspend Sanusi and use security forces to prevent him from entering his office, as reported by the media, will even be worse, because it will mean that the president is willing to circumvent the provision of the law that the governor of the CBN can only be removed by two-thirds of the Senate membership.

Not only that, APC argued that suspending Sanusi will be a replay of President Jonathan's damage to the Judiciary when he suspended Salami until his retirement; and he could easily re-enact such scenario if, for example, he feels that the INEC Chairman has offended him.

'Our worry here is that the president should not destroy our institutions before he leaves office', read a part of the statement, which gave the party's main reason for commenting on the planned removal of Sanusi, either through forced retirement or via suspension, as the impact that a crisis of confidence between the president and the CBN governor will have on the nation's economy.

"These include a loss of confidence in the economic management of the country, leading to uncertainty among domestic and foreign investors as well as pressure on the exchange rate, as foreign portfolio investors in government bonds and the stock market make their exit and the corresponding fall in the value of share prices.

'Overall, a protracted standoff between the president and the CBN Governor will spell bad news for economic growth and employment and increase poverty. This is why we advise President Jonathan against precipitating crisis in the economy; and we urge all Nigerians to advise him against such'.

The party conceded, though, that there is nothing wrong in a CBN governor alerting the president to any discrepancy he may have noticed in the remittance of revenue from oil, which is the mainstay of the economy, and such action is expected from any CBN governor who is worth his salt.

It said there is no reason to believe that Sanusi leaked the letter he wrote to the president, especially because the CBN governor wrote the letter in September and the letter was not leaked until December.

'It stands to reason that if the CBN governor had wanted to leak the letter, he had no reason to wait for four months to do so. Also, the moment the letter was sent to Mr. President, it had gone beyond the purview of the CBN governor; and anyone with a reason to do so could as well have leaked the letter', ACN reasone

'Therefore, for the president to have made the extraordinary move to force out the CBN governor, even though he has a few months to the end of his tenure, smacks of vendetta and is capable of impacting negatively on the economy. Circumventing the law to force out the CBN governor will amount to brigandage and reinforce the perception of the Jonathan Administration as one with a propensity for impunity'.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday confirmed that Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi will exit his office on 2nd June 2013. The confirmation came during a media briefing after the execution of the Payments System Vision 2020 (PSV2020) Strategy by the CBN spokesman, Mr. Ugo Okoroafor, who confirmed that the governor held a family meeting with staff of the bank to announce his procession on a terminal leave but will serve out his tenure till 2nd June.

It is believed that Sanusi agreed to the terminal leave scheduled to begin in March, after controversies generated by the report of the missing $49.8bn accruable to the federation account. But Okoroafor, dismissed the role of the report in Sanusi's departure, saying the terminal leave is now improbable as the governor will take a bow in June.

Outgoing Deputy Governor, Operations, Mr. Tunde Lemo earlier revealed that CBN has put into live operations, a new Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system, integrated with a Scripless Securities Settlement System (SSSS), but refrained from discussing his imminent exit slated for Friday.