Jan. 23, 2014
By Chuks Okocha
The presidency has issued a query to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, demanding an explanation for some of the donations the CBN has made under his watch to some universities and organisations.
A top presidency official, who sought not to be named, confided in THISDAY yesterday that the federal government was forced to issue the query as a result of its concern over Sanusi’s activities, which have portrayed him as working to undermine the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to him, Sanusi has engaged in what he described as unprecedented politicisation of his office as well as serial infractions of regulations governing the operations of the central bank.
He said the presidency was worried by the way and manner Sanusi had been donating to communities and institutions in the name of the central bank without adherence to due process and regard for the multi-cultural diversities of the Nigerian nation.
The CBN governor was accused of donating about N150 billion to some institutions and interest groups in states controlled by opposition political parties in what appears to be a clever way of channelling state funds to some politicians who in turn use them to attack the president and his government.
The presidency source gave some of the questionable donations to include N4 billion to Bayero University, Kano; N10 billion to Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto; N500 million to the University of Benin, Benin; and N100 million to the Kano State Government.
Many of the donations, he added, were considered ultra-vires as they were outside the powers and functions of the CBN.
In addition, the source said in the last one year, security reports had indicted Sanusi of holding nocturnal meetings with politicians, especially with the opposition parties, making reckless statements capable of undermining the integrity of the nation’s financial institutions and violating global principles of public decorum expected of holders of such offices.
According to the presidency official, “The CBN governor has become more of a politician than a banker. He delights in political circus shows in the company of opposition political figures; making statements unbecoming of his office.
“The president has actually been very tolerant of these infractions in line with his personal convictions of allowing institutions operate their own independent checks on officers, but it appears the CBN governor is becoming a law unto himself.”
The recent allegation, in a letter to the president, by the CBN governor that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had not remitted $49.8 billion of crude oil proceeds to the Federation Account, has equally been seen as a deliberate ploy by the CBN governor to portray the federal government in a bad light.
This was seen as part of the larger plan by the opposition to discredit the government ahead of the 2015 general election.
The source said the allegation, which Sanusi later described as an “error”, sent the wrong signals to the international business community about the Nigerian economy and would not have been treated lightly in other climes.
As exclusively reported by THISDAY on January 9, Jonathan had demanded the immediate resignation of Sanusi on the grounds that the CBN governor had allegedly leaked the letter he wrote to him on the unremitted $49.8 billion to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
But Sanusi rebuffed the president, saying only the Senate could remove him from office by a two-thirds vote.
“This man is simply playing a dangerous political game. He openly romances the opposition and attacks the integrity of his employers. Do an analysis of the CBN governor’s speeches at a birthday colloquium of a notable opposition political leader in the South-west last year as well as what he said at the book launch of the spokesman of the main opposition party in Abuja, and that will show you the mindset of a man who is supposed to be the chief economic adviser of the federal government,” the source added.