The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, said on Sunday that the suspension of Mallam Lamido Sanusi as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria could hurt the nation’s economy.
Tambuwal, who visited former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said the action by President Goodluck Jonathan was capable of sending “wrong signals” to international investors about Nigeria’s financial institutions.
Explaining that he was at the Hilltop residence of the former President to consult him on some key issues of “national interest,” the speaker stated that foreign businessmen must have confidence in a nation’s financial system before they could invest their funds.
He said, “Well whether (Sanusi’s suspension) is lawful, legal or illegal, the personality involved has told everybody that he is going to court and I believe that he is already in court on that suspension.
“On the implications for the economy; I’m not an economist but I personally feel that it will definitely send wrong signals to investors. This is because you need to have confidence in the financial institutions, particularly the independence of the financial institutions of a country, before investors will consider such a country worthy of their investments.
“So, I have my concern about that.”
Tambuwal, who maintained that he was still a card-carrying member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, dismissed speculations that he was planning to leave the party for the All Progressives Congress or any other party.
He said, “I am visiting the national leader of the PDP. Baba(Obasanjo) and myself are in the PDP. Baba is a leader not only in Nigeria but in Africa and it is only appropriate for those of us in the positions of authority and leadership to occasionally come and consult him on matters of national interest and that is what we are here for today(Sunday).
“There are lots of issues in Nigeria today. Of course, there is the issue of Petroleum Industry Bill that we are considering in the House. We are doing constitution amendment and a host of other very key and important legislation before the parliament.
“So, we needed to consult our leaders on such very important and vital legislation before we conclude what we are doing on them. The Electoral Act is likely to be amended too. So, from his wealth of experience, we need some input from him(Obasanjo).”
Tambuwal was accompanied on the visit by the Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Kawu Sumaila; Ajibola Muraina and Aminu Shagari.
Also on Sunday, the Serving Overseer of The Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare, said that the suspension of Sansusi would have negative implications for the nation.
Bakare described Jonathan’s action against the CBN governor as ego-driven and a destructive power game.
He said in a prepared speech, which he delivered during the Sunday service, that Sanusi was being persecuted for exposing corruption in the oil industry.
The cleric warned that Sanusi’s suspension could have negative consequences for the investing public and the nation’s revenue.
He said, “The suspension of Sanusi is an ego-driven, counter-productive and destructive power game that will have very dangerous consequences for the nation and the government,
“It is important not to demystify the institutions of the country. Personalities and people will go but the institutions will remain; the institutions must remain strong to enhance the growth and peace of the society.
“You can imagine the negative consequences of this suspension on the investing public, on shares and even on government revenue.”
Bakare whose speech was titled ‘Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the Federal Government of Nigeria: Aitete m’ole, ole m’oloko,’ said the CBN boss became a victim because he delayed blowing the whistle about the corruption in the oil industry.
He explained that Aitete m’ole, ole m’oloko, means “that when the owner of the farm fails to apprehend the thief in time, the thief will apprehend the owner and label him the thief.”
The clergyman recalled that Sanusi’s travails started on September 25, 2013, when he wrote Jonathan accusing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of failing to repatriate $49.8bn (about N8tn) into the Federation Account between January 2012 and July 2013.
Bakare added, “The opportune time to blow the whistle should have been “when the CBN, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the PPPRA, the NNPC and other agencies provided conflicting figures as to actual subsidy payments to the Ad hoc Committee on the management of fuel subsidy”.
According to him, the NNPC had been spared of any indictment in all the three reports “from the 2011 KPMG report to the 2012 Farouk Lawan Committee Report and from the 2012 Nuhu Ribadu Committee Report to the 2013 Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative report.
“When the Save Nigeria Group raised the bar during the fuel subsidy protests and maintained that government-backed corruption fuelled by the NNPC was the main issue, perhaps a corroborating voice by the CBN governor would have added weight to the outcry.”
The cleric commended Sanusi for speaking up against corruption and urged him to take solace in the words of William Bryant, who once said that “Truth crushed to earth, shall rise again.”
“Make no mistake about it, few men have the courage of Sanusi,” he said.
Also in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, condemned Sanusi’s suspension, saying Jonathan took the action because he felt that nobody would challenge him.
The governor spoke during a Sunday service and reception for the assistant resident ministers by the Christ Church in the city.
Amaechi urged religious leaders to always hold government accountable and champion the fight against corruption.
He said, “You can imagine how President Jonathan announced the sudden removal (suspension) of the CBN governor. He does not have such powers. He knows that nothing will happen and that was why he took that action.
“So, I think the preachers should begin to preach what we call the liberation theology. You (church leaders) are supposed to have more responsibilities to hold government accountable.
“The issue of the missing $49.8bn from the Federation Account is still there. If you convert that money to naira, you will get N8tn and that money can solve the problem of this country for the next few years.