Tuesday, 25 February 2014

President Jonathan Insists That Sanusi Is Still The Governor Of CBN, But Shelves Questions On Second Term Bid

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President Goodluck Jonathan in his Presidential media chat on Monday evening revealed to the nation that, Governor Sanusi of the CBN was still the governor of the apex bank, pending the conclusion of the inquiry into his alleged financial recklessness. He also spoke on his re-election bid, refusing to confirm the rumours of his intention to run for the 2015 elections.
Speaking on the national conference, he said disintegration would not be taking center stage at the conference. As reported by Sahara Reporters
Deposed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is still Governor of the bank and was only stepped aside, President Goodluck Jonathan said on Monday evening.



Responding to questions during his sixth presidential media chat — one that subsequently trended on Social Media as too mechanical and somewhat stage-managed — Jonathan stated that Sanusi was only asked to step aside momentarily, pending the conclusion of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria’s inquiry into the audited account of CBN.
Should Sanusi be found innocent of the allegations of financial recklessness against him, Jonathan explained, he would have the opportunity to return to his job.
“Jonathan is not going there to audit CBN. It is the FRCN that is auditing CBN. Even in village meetings, if a member commits an issue, he will have to step aside first. So on Sanusi, we must allow the financial reporting council to work”, he said.
“The issue of the Central Bank is unfortunate but on whether the president has powers to suspend, I will tell you yes! The president has absolute powers. The president appoints, but must clear with the Senate to remove anybody in that capacity.
“The president has oversight functions over the CBN. This is why the president approves audited accounts of the CBN or any changes to be made in the country's currencies. But Sanusi is still the Governor of CBN and Nigerians must know that”.
He blamed controversies over his rights to suspend the governor on the “anomalous” CBN Act. He also defended the gap in the date of FRCN’s indictment of Sanusi and the timing of his suspension, saying the delay was occasioned by exchange of correspondences between all parties concerned.
“If the grey areas are settled by the FRCN and they feel that the infractions are real, then I will go to the Senate. I cannot say I am firing him”, he said, warning Nigerians to be careful in passing comments and publishing stories on the suspension, which is “sensitive” since FRCN is still investigating the allegations.
On Sanusi’s allegation of unremitted $20bn by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Jonathan recalled that the suspended governor gave conflicting figures before finally settling for $20bn.
“I received calls from all over the world from people asking if such huge amount as $49bn, more than the aid to Africa, could disappear like that”, Jonathan said.
“I don't even know which one to believe anymore. But even if the amount is merely N1, it would be investigated and nobody indicted would go scot-free. I can tell you that no president will be happy to hear that money, no matter how small, disappeared from the treasury of the government”.
Jonathan also recalled that his first query to Sanusi was back in April 2013, hence, the suspension could never have been the consequence of allegations of missing money.
“In societies, we must respect the rule irrespective of whose ox is gored”, he said, before going on to make a case for the amendment of certain parts of CBN act such as the dual role of the governor also heading the board of the bank.
“Last year, the National Assembly wanted to amend the CBN Act, but some wrong signals were sent that government wanted to amend the Act to subject CBN to its control”, he said.
“It was a private member bill. We pleaded with the National Assembly to step it down and they suspended it... There are aspects of the CBN that should be autonomous, but not every aspect. For example, the issue of monetary policy, if the CBN wants to devalue the Naira or strengthen it, you cannot say it doesn’t need to take any permission from anybody. If it wants to change the colour of a naira note, it has to seek my permission”.
The president also spoke on the resurgence of terrorism in the North-East, saying the government has recorded a lot of success that people are ignoring.
“We are working very hard and there are successes, but nobody talks about successes. They only talk about the failures”, he said, noting that the attacks at a time were even staged in the heart of Abuja (such as the bombing of the UN building), but the terrorists have now been pushed to the periphery of north-eastern states.
He also assured that the terrorists would eventually be overcome, saying, “The dialogue thing is still working. I promise Borno communities that we will continue to improve, the issue of Borno State is very unfortunate”.
Answering questions on the source of funding for the centenary celebrations, he said the chunk of the money for the series of events has come from private-sector donations, while the Presidency would only be responsible for the expense of hosting invited heads of states and other national guests.
Speaking on the proposed National Conference, Jonathan said work on the start of the conference has already begun, and was only truncated by the centenary commemoration, which ordinarily should have held back in January.
He revealed that the main officials of the conference — the chairman, the deputy chairman and the secretary — would be announced by 3rd March 2014, while the administrative officer for the conference would be announced thereafter.
“On the 3rd of March, we would announce the chairman, deputy chairman and secretary for the conference before we inaugurate participants later on the 10th. From then they would start work. If there are other changes you would know”, he said.
He also dispelled suggestions that the national conference would primarily address issues relating to Nigeria’s disintegration.
“We are not saying that without the national conference, Nigeria will break. People are just making provocative statements”, he said.
“We won’t allow the disintegration of Nigeria to be debated in the National Conference. The conference is definitely not to prevent disintegration. Nigeria will not disintegrate”.
He revealed that despite all the noise on disintegration, only one person submitted a corrigendum on disintegration to the committee on the national conference, hence disintegration would not be allowed to take the centre stage.
The president refused to discuss his plans to contest the 2015 election, saying the political arena in the country is already too heated for him to be discussing such issue at the media chat. He also attempted to evade questions on governors who decamped to APC from PDP.
“Days of Mr. President or Mr. Governor imposing his will on the people are over. The days where Mr. Governor imposes his will on Nigerians are over. Even if today I am not contesting election, I will make sure I lead my party to victory”, he said.
“I would prefer that we don't go to that area [the subject of the defectors] because I wouldn't want to use this platform to market my party. I believe very clearly, that they are all elected by Nigerians. If a governor moves from party A to party B, he would not carry the people along. It depends on how people assess him, if he has done well for the state or not”.
Jonathan refused to reveal if he would seek re-election in 2015 or not, saying that whatever his response, more problems would be created. Instead, he said, “I will make my decision known at the right  time.



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