The All Progressives.Congress has advised President Goodluck Jonathan to tread softly on his reported plan to force the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to resign because of the impact such will have on the nation’s economy.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said asking the CBN Governor to step down, on the basis of a mere allegation that he leaked the letter he wrote to the President over the unremitted $49.8 billion oil revenue, does not bode well for an economy that is 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, the APC said, suspending Sanusi will be a replay of the damage that President Jonathan did to the judiciary when he suspended the former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Ayo Salami, until his retirement, and he could easily re-enact such scenario if, for example, he feels that the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission has offended him.
“Our worry here is that the President should not destroy our institutions before he leaves office,” the party said.
It said the party’s main reason for commenting on the planned removal of Sanusi, either through forced retirement or via suspension, is the impact that a crisis of confidence between the President and the CBN governor will have on the nation’s economy.
The party added: 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 a crisis in the economy, and we urge all Nigerians to advice him against such.”
The party said there was 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, adding that 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.
The party added: “It stands to reason that if the CBN Governor had wanted to leak the letter, he had no reason waiting for four months to do so. Also, the moment the letter was sent to Mr. President, it has gone beyond the purview of the CBN Governor, and anyone with a reason to do so could as well have leaked the letter.
“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.”