A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, on Monday said President Goodluck Jonathan’s action against the suspended CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, was long overdue and should have been an outright sack.
Several arguments trailed the President’s decision to suspend the Governor without the required two-third vote from the Senate.
However, speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ozekhome argued that Jonathan followed due process under the law.
According to him, the power of the President to remove Sanusi is inherent in the power of an employer to suspend an employee and so it doesn’t even have to be written.
“The CBN Act simply talks about removal from office in Section 11(2F) but it did not dwell on the issue of suspension,” he said and stressed that suspension was a step towards removal or dismissal.
He commended counter arguments by some lawyers that “one of the legal principles of statutory interpretation is that whatever is not stated is excluded and since suspension was not specifically mentioned in the CBN Act, it means it was excluded.”
He, however, gave a counter argument saying “such argument forgets its sister principle of statutory interpretation that what is not forbidden or outlawed is allowed. In other words, if a law does not specifically say you cannot do this, it means you can do it.”
The lawyer went further to say that the suspended CBN governor, who was employed directly by the President under Section 8 of the CBN Act, failed in regards to the ethical and behavioural tendencies expected of him and that the autonomy of the institution was subject to the President’s leadership.
“Section 8 says it is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that employed the CBN governor and the deputy governors” adding that “the CBN is autonomous to the extent that it reports to the President” he said.
Ozekhome further argued that the President had followed due procedure in removing Sanusi, as approval by the Senate should come after the deed had been done. “One comes before the other,” he said and maintained that; “dismissal takes place then you go to the Senate for confirmation.”
Ozekhome, who compared Sanusi to unpopular Governors in other countries of the world, said the position of the CBN governor was conservative and that he should not have criticised a government he worked for publicly. “A CBN Governor is supposed to be seen and rarely heard, if at all he should be heard.”
“If you must be a sentinel at the apex bank of Nigeria, like Caesars’ wife, you must be above board,” he said, insisting that “the right thing to do out of self-respect, character and dignity is to put in your letter of resignation” if he had differences with the system.
According to the senior lawyer, Sanusi’s criticism of the Federal Government led to disinvestment and the instability of the Naira. “That is why the Naira has been dancing a ‘yoyo dance’.”
He faulted Sanusi’s inconsistency in reeling out figures, insisting that it undermines the confidence in the economy and currency of the country. “As a CBN Governor he should be master of figures, he shouldn’t stumble because you are playing with figures in the realm of international politics.
“A CBN governor does not have to raise an alarm to the country. There are in-built mechanisms in any government.
“I don’t agree with you that when you work in a system, that the way to work in that system is to flip-flop with figures to the whole world which undermines the economy of that country,” he added.