The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described Thursday’s suspension of Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by President Goodluck Jonathan as patently illegal, poorly thought-out and in bad taste, noting that it will surely have negative repercussions for the nation’s economy.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the opposition party also said the action is the clearest indication yet that President Jonathan, whose body language does not abhor corruption, is willing to silence any whistle-blower, no matter his or her status.
“As the country wallows in unprecedented corruption under the rudderless and corruption-hugging Jonathan Administration, the President may have finally decided to send a strong signal to all Nigerians that it will not tolerate any exposure of corruption under any circumstance. What better way to do this than to silence the man who has exposed the alleged missing 20 billion dollars in the NNPC accounts?” it queried.
APC said that the CBN governor’s suspension has also shown indicated that President Jonathan as a leader is not concerned if he destroys national institutions on the altar of personal ego and political expediency.
“First it was the judiciary which came under his sledge hammer, when he suspended then President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, just to satisfy the hawks in his party. Then it is the turn of the National Assembly, the Police and now the financial sector. President Jonathan should not destroy our institutions before he bows out of office next year. These institutions are older than him and will definitely outlive him”, APC warned.
The party noted that while Section 11 (f) of the CBN Act 2007 empowers the President to remove the CBN Governor, the section is unambiguous on the conditions under which such can take place – if he has the support of two-thirds majority of the Senate.
“Nowhere in the Act is it said that the President can suspend the CBN Governor, as he has done in another of his serial rape of the country’s laws”, it said, adding that the reasons adduced by the presidency for Sanusi’s suspension are as puerile as they are unprecedented, and amount to giving the dog a bad name just to hang it.
The party said the questions that arise, based on those ridiculous reasons, are: “Why has it taken almost five years of Sanusi’s tenure for the President to realize the irregularities of CBN under Sanusi?
“Why is the President acting on questionable allegations against Sanusi at a time the CBN Governor has opened the can of worms in the NNPC? Why has a President, who has always treated glaring corruption allegations against his political appointees with so much levity, now so quick to move against a CBN Governor who has never been accused, let alone indicted of corruption?”
The party expressed serious concerns at the implication of Sanusi’s suspension for the nation’s economy, especially on the value of the Naira; local and international investments; the stock market; inflation and the overall health of the economy.
“Coming at a time when the economy was already under pressure due to internal and external factors and is in need of significant investments in several sectors, such as power and manufacturing to maintain its economic growth rates, the uncertainty caused by the suspension will leave both local and international investors questioning the economic direction of the country and therefore their investment approach to Nigeria.
“At best, new investments will be delayed until investors consider that economic and political stability has been restored, and at worst, which is more likely, both new and existing investors will pull back.
“The Nigerian Stock Exchange that was already witnessing a withdrawal of portfolio investors, due to the US tapering exercise, is likely to be exacerbated as more investors, local and international, exit the market, further putting downward pressure on the country’s exchange rate at a time the CBN is already having difficulty defending the currency. In fact, the devaluation of the national currency looms.
“All these factors will also drive higher inflation rates with its attendant economic, social and political costs. No one can say for certain exactly how costly this action will be for the nation but there are no doubts it will be high,” the party said.
It called on Nigerians to stay strong in their determination to fight the canker worm of corruption, even as the government of the day makes clear it will not hesitate to punish whistle-blowers and reward corrupt persons.
“If anyone in this country is still doubting that the Jonathan administration lacks the wherewithal to fight corruption, operate under the rule of law and take Nigeria to greater heights, that person should now clear the doubt. This administration has clearly reached the end of its tethers and should be voted out next year to pave the way for a party that is willing and able to rescue Nigeria”, APC said.