Senate spokesman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, (PDP-Abia), has said that President Goodluck Jonathan acted within the ambit of his statutory functions by suspending the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Reacting to Sanusi’s suspension, Abaribe who chairs the Senate Committee on Information, Media and Publicity said the president by suspending Sanusi was well within the range of his statutory function as President.” The President only suspended Sanusi, he did not sack him. So he acted accordingly”, he said.
Abaribe, however, said that the only communication to the Senate in relation to CBN was the forwarding of the name of the new governor and deputy governor for confirmation by the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly.
However, Senator Babajide Omowurare (APC-Osun) on his part said that the president’s action was illegal and contrary to the provisions of the CBN Act. Omoworare said that the Act prevented the president from doing so except in the case of outright sack of the governor which must be presented to the senate for two third majority approval.
He did not mention the relevant provisions of the Act but said that the president’s action was an act of ambushing a needed whistle blower out of office. This, he added was in view of shocking revelations he made against the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the mismanagement of oil proceeds.
“Sanusi no doubt, has been the crown witness in the matter of alleged mismanagement of Nigeria’s oil proceeds to the tune of 49.8 billion dollars so why suspend him now?” Omoworare asked.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance Senator Ahmed Makarfi (PDP-Kaduna) when asked to comment on Sanusi’s suspension said:” what do you want me to say, am I the one that suspended him?”
On his part, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Sunny Ugbuoji hailed Jonathan for suspending the CBN Governor. Ugbuoji told newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, that Jonathan’s action was long over due and should be encouraged.
He observed that Sanusi carried on as though he was above the law in his utterances and actions which were capable of causing disaffection between the President and the opposition. “Sanusi has actually been living as if he was a law unto himself. He should have long been suspended. It is insubordination and total disrespect to the presidency that there will be communication between the CBN governor and the President and the same communication would be leaked to the media.
“If he says he wants to correct something that is wrong then you should allow the president to take his action. He (Sanusi) himself as a matter of fact cannot really say that he is not dealing in the sane impunity he is accusing others. He is going all over the place donating hundreds of millions, erecting structures worth billions on Naira. Does he have that authority? ” Ugbuoji queried.
He recalled that Sanusi had refused to present the budget of the CBN to the National Assembly as stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA). Ugbuoji said: “So, he has no moral high ground to stand and be claiming that others are doing wrong. For me Mr. president has even acted very late. “By reaching out to suspend Sanusi, the President has done just well and should be encouraged.”
A former staff of the CBN and economist, Mr Titus Okunronmu, said that Sanusi’ utterances and pronouncements in the past showed that he is not loyal to the current administration, saying that Sanusi should have resigned a long term ago instead of denting his image by the suspension. He said that the next CBN governor should be a core professional with multi-disciplinary experiences and above all should be loyal to the government of the day.
The Director–General of Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Muda Yusuf, said that the president should have allowed him finished his tenure which would have ended by March.
Yusuf said that since Sanusi was not allowed to finish his tenure, the president should inform the public why he took the decision. But he said that the President’s decision to appoint Alade as the acting governor is rational because she is the most senior official.
He urged Nigerians not see the development as a gender issue adding that “she is not there because she is a woman but the most senior deputy governor”.
The General Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr. Adebayo Adeleke, said that Sanusi’s suspension was long over-due. Adeleke said, “Our long held position of high level of financial recklessness has been proven right. He should be handled over immediately to Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).”
An economist, Mr Victor Ogiemwonyin, Managing Director of Partnership Investment Company Ltd., said he could not comment at the moment but said that the appointment of Alade was a welcome idea. Ogiemwonyin said that since the acting governor was a team player particularly the most senior deputy governor in the last tenure.
He said that he hope that Alade would continue with the last tenure’s transformation agenda which he added would lead to stability in the market. Ogiemwonyi said that next CBN governor should have a strong economic understanding.
Dr. Sarah Omotunde Alade was appointed Deputy Governor (Economic Policy) Central Bank of Nigeria on 26th March, 2007. She attended the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where she obtained a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Economics in 1976.
She also obtained an M.Comm degree at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia in 1983 and a Ph.D Management Science (Operations Research), from the University of Ilorin in 1991.
She joined the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1993 as an Assistant Director in the Research Department where she served as Head, State Government Finance Office (1993-1996), Head, Federal Government Finance Office (1996-2000) and Head, Fiscal Analysis Division (2000-2004).
Alade was appointed Director, Banking Operations Department in May 2004. In that capacity, she served as Chairman Board of Directors, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) as well as Secretary, National Payments System Committee (NPSC).
Jonathan suspended Sanusi on Thursday and appointed Dr Sarah Alade to act as Governor pending the appointment of a substantive governor. The president also forwarded the name of Mr Godwin Emefiele to the Senate for confirmation as the new governor of the apex bank.
But the new governor will only assume office at the expiration of Sanusi’s tenure in June.