Friday, 21 February 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Revealed by Premium Times: Jonathan’s First Query to CBN Governor, Sanusi By: Premium times

The face-off between President Jonathan and Mr. Sanusi actually began in 2012 after Mr. Sanusi granted an interview considered critical of the administration, according to premiumtimesng.com report
Contrary to widespread believe that Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, first ran into trouble with President Goodluck Jonathan late last year when he wrote a letter accusing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of diverting N8 trillion of Nigeria’s oil revenue, PREMIUM TIMES can report today that Mr. Sanusi first incurred the wrath of the presidency in 2012 when he granted a newspaper interview criticizing the administration’s handling of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Mr. Sanusi had granted an interview to the Financial Times of London in 2012 blaming widespread poverty in the North for Boko Haram’s success in recruiting members. That interview, this newspaper can report, terribly irked Mr. Jonathan and earned Mr. Sanusi a query from the presidency.
Investigations by PREMIUM TIMES showed that not long after it published Mr. Sansui’s interview, the Financial Times did an analysis on Nigeria’s economy and passed a damning verdict on the Federal Government.
Embarrassed by both the interview and the analysis of the London-based newspaper, President Jonathan ordered the former National Security Adviser, NSA, late Owoye Andrew Azazi, to query Mr. Sanusi.
During the controversial interview, the CBN governor had among other things, criticised the uneven distribution of wealth in the country, saying some parts of Nigeria were by far richer than others.
Mr. Sanusi had while fielding questions said, “There is clearly a direct link between the very uneven nature of distribution of resources and the rising level of violence.
“When you look at the figures and look at the size of the population in the north, you can see that there is a structural imbalance of enormous proportions. Those states simply do not have enough money to meet basic needs while some states have too much money.
“The imbalance is so stark because the state still depends on oil for more than 80 per cent of its revenues.”
However, in its analysis of Mr. Sanusi’s interview, the Financial Times on January 27, 2012 wrote: “Nigeria has made little headway raising taxes for example from agriculture, which accounts for 42 per cent of GDP. Northern Nigeria’s economy has traditionally depended on the government more than the south.
“Many of the industries set up as part of earlier efforts to promote national balance have gone bust or been sold off during a decade of liberal market reforms, power shortages and infrastructure collapse.”
The analysis continued, “According to official figures, the leading oil producing state, Rivers, received N1, 053 billion between 1999 and 2008 in federal allocations.
“By contrast the North-eastern states of Yobe and Borno, where the Boko Haram sect was created, received N175bn and N213bn respectively. Broken down on a per capita basis, the contrast is even starker.
In 2008 the 18.97m people who lived in the six states in the north-east received on average N1, 156 per person.”
But a few days after the analysis was published and following presidential directive, Mr. Azazi issued a query to Mr. Sanusi, dated February 2, 2012.
A copy of the query which was exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, referenced: NSA/A/229/C and titled, “Recent Interview with Financial Times,” was copied to the Director General, Department of State Services, Ita Ekpenyong.
Among other things, the NSA stated that the query was necessitated by statements credited to Mr. Sanus during an interview with the London-based newspaper.
The query reads, “In the interview, you were alleged to have made statements to the following effects: That, the uneven pattern of distribution of resources is directly linked to the rising level of violence in Nigeria.
“That, it is now necessary to focus funds on regenerating other regions of Nigeria; other than the Niger Delta. That, additional federal funds allocation to the Niger delta states has created ‘a structural imbalance of enormous proportions,’ with some states not having enough money and others having too much.
“That, when the theft of oil by profiteers is considered, this imbalance between the oil producing states of the South-South (or Niger Delta states) and states in the North is compounded.”
The query also drew Mr. Sanusi’s attention to his statement that the derivation funds paid to oil producing states, above the normal federal allocations created new disparity in state resource, fostered resentment and encouraged terrorism.
The CBN governor was also reminded that his assertions directly attributed the activities of Boko Haram sect to the revenue allocation formula used by the government.
The query continued, “Not only is there no empirical evidence to support such a statement, conventional wisdom in Nigeria refutes that assertion. Experts obviously have provided numerous explanations for the emergence of Boko Haram activities and the general consensus is that there are no silver bullets.
“Your statements to the Financial Times do not only have no basis in fact but they are divisive, inflammatory, inciting and inappropriate of a senior officer of the Federal Government whose responsibility includes national stability and state continuity.
“This statement has already caused a lot of angst among the populace and raised significant questions as to your intent and motives. These statements bring disrepute to the administration and current and past leadership of Nigeria.
“While I understand your right to free speech and some of the independence your office enjoys, I must also caution you that as an officer of the Government of Nigeria and one entrusted to promote state stability, your utterances through this interview are not in the interest of Nigeria’s national security.
“I encourage you to explore and pursue approaches that will ameliorate the problems that your statements have caused, including a retraction or clarifying statements, possibly through the same medium of interview.”
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Mr. Sanusi failed to respond to the query, saying he was not answerable to Mr. Azazi and that he would only respond to a direct query from President Jonathan.
Presidency sources say the President did not forgive Mr. Sanusi ever since and had waited patiently for an opportunity to unload him from the administration.

Zenith Bank tops most traded shares as Bank Chief is nominated Central Bank Governor, Premiumtimesng says

The Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Godwin Emefiele, is to be the next Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Zenith Bank, Thursday, was the most traded shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange after the bank’s boss was nominated as the next Central Bank Governor.
Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, Thursday, named the Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Godwin Emefiele, as the next Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In a letter addressed to the Senate President, David Mark, and read on the floor of the Senate, the president, who urged the parliament to treat the nomination with dispatch, said Mr. Emefiele would replace suspended Lamido Sanusi, whose tenure is billed to expire in June.
Perhaps responding to Mr. Emefiele’s nomination, Zenith Bank was the toast of investors, accounting for 69.05 million shares valued at N1.37 billion.
Access Bank came second on the activity chart with 57.54 million shares worth N492.76 million, while FBN Holdings sold 37.62 million shares valued at N459.12 million. UBA accounted for 28.61 million shares worth N201.79 million, while Skye Bank recorded a turnover of 26.88 million shares valued at N90.82 million.
Guinness led the losers’ chart, dropping N8.90 to close at N171.10 per share. It was followed by Nigerian Breweries with a loss of N4.89, to close at N146.61 per share. Unilever went down by N2 to close at N48, while GTBank and Oando declined by N1.29 each, to close at N24.62 and N18.96 per share, respectively.
Dangote Cement recorded the highest gain for the day, appreciating by N1.92 to close at N239.92 per share. PZ Cussons trailed with a gain of N1.86 to close at N39.12, while International Breweries appreciated by 35k to close at N29.50 per share. NAHCO gained 17k to close at N5.87, while Air Services grew by 11k to close at N2.47 per share.
Investors on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, on Thursday bought 483.545 million shares worth N4.85 billion in 4,539 deals.
This was against a turnover of 303.346 million shares worth N3.8 billion traded by investors in 5,911 deals on Wednesday.
Market capitalisation lost N186 billion or 1.45 per cent to close at N12.486 trillion, against the N12.654 trillion recorded on Wednesday.
The NSE All-Share Index lost 580.89 points or 1.47 per cent to close at 38,816.19, compared with the 39,397.19 achieved on Wednesday.
Market analysts have attributed the lull in the market to profit taking by investors and the economic instability in the financial sector.

An aviation expert clamors for an entrepreneur as a minister....

As aviation stakeholders clamored for an expert to be a new minister, an industry consultant and the CEO of Belujane Konsult, Chris Aligbe, said that for the aviation to development and grow as a viable economic entity, it is not necessary that the Minister of Aviation should be aviation professional.
Aligbe noted that the Sector needs a person that can function like an entrepreneur who has business sense to transform the airports and make them sources of generating wealth, adding that the places where professionals are needed are the aviation agencies.
“I totally agree that professionals should head the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the other agencies. But a Minister of Aviation is a person that should know how to grow the non-aeronautical revenue of the airports; somebody that will bring business into the airports so that the sector can contribute to the nation’s GDP. In some countries non aeronautical revenue generated by their airports is about 70 per cent compared to aeronautical revenue,” Aligbe said.
He recalled that in the defunct Nigerian Airways Limited (NAL), the managing directors that turned the airline round were non-aviation professionals, adding that pilots, engineers and others in the industry hold tight to their skills and are efficient in their fields but may not be efficient in transforming the industry into a viable economic resource, which is the trend in the rest of the world.
However, Last Saturday, aviation stakeholders consisting of the Airline Operators of Nigeria ( AON), Aviation Roundtable, and professional unions called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure he appoints a professional with technical background and interest of the sector as minister of aviation.
The stakeholders in a press conference held in Lagos said they had written a letter to Jonathan to express the seriousness of their agitation, which they said was non negotiable.
While addressing journalists, the convener of the meeting, the chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria, Captain Nogie Meggison, said there could be no better time to appoint an aviation professional as Minister than now, given the enormity of challenges in the sector.

“You Cannot Suspend The Truth” – Sanusi Tells Jonathan [Read Text of 1st Interview After Suspension]

“You Cannot Suspend The Truth” – Sanusi Tells Jonathan [Read Text of 1st Interview After Suspension]

For the sake of those with slow Internet and date bundle issues, I have transcribed the major parts of suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s first interview after his suspension. He spoke to CNBC Africa. You can read the text below.

On whether he was on notice with respect to his suspension: Well, I have been told by my office that a letter was received. As you know, I flew in this morning to Niamey along with other Governors of West African Central Banks to meet with the President of Niger and President of Ghana…Fortunately, I came in with my VP Sarah Alade whom I have been asked to hand over to. I have left the meeting to hand over to her. I have just met the Nigerian Ambassador to Niger who confirmed to me that the President asked him to inform me of the decision.

On accusations of “various acts of financial misconduct and recklessness” he said: I don’t know what they are talking about. When I come back, I will see what those allegations are…I don’t think there is any issue raised that has not been raised before. We all know what this is about. This is about consequences for decisions I have taken… This is something that is long overdue. I am surprised it took them so long.

On concerns for the market: Basically, my concern is for the safety of the market…I have had a wonderful time in service to my country. I would not want to see all of my work unraveled. No individual is worth it.

On whether his suspension is politically motivated: It is not for me to comment. I am not sure that erm… I think the answer to that is obvious…there is a legal question of whether the president has the authority to suspend the Governor and whether suspension is not removal. It will be helpful to establish the principles by court.

Even if I challenge it, I will not go back to the job. Even if I challenge it successfully, I will not go back to it. I think it will be in the interest of the institution for the courts to establish once and for all if the president has the powers to do this… If it is not challenged, the next Central Bank Governor cannot be independent with fear of being suspended by a politician. I do plan to have the courts confirm if indeed that authority exists and I will challenge it.

On his legacy: He pointed out Low inflation. Stable exchange rate. Reformed and well governed banking system, robust reserve, independent central bank, financial inclusion, systems reform…history will record this, nothing is going to change that. You can suspend an individual, you can’t suspend the truth. And this is all about these concerns around oil revenues, around decadence in the oil sector and if this is going to bring about the $20 billion then that’s fine.

Sanusi Lamido also emphasized the fact that he trusted the competence of his successor Sarah Alade and the other deputy governors to continue his good work. His grouse seemed to be on the legality of his suspension and the future independence of the CBN Governor. He insisted he’d go to the courts to contest the arbitrariness of his suspension, citing the fact that the President himself did not sign his suspension letter as it was signed by the Secretary to the Federal Government. He finished by saying he had no regrets or ill feelings towards anyone on the matter.

“You Cannot Suspend The Truth” – Sanusi Tells Jonathan [Read Text of 1st Interview After Suspension]

“You Cannot Suspend The Truth” – Sanusi Tells Jonathan [Read Text of 1st Interview After Suspension]

For the sake of those with slow Internet and date bundle issues, I have transcribed the major parts of suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s first interview after his suspension. He spoke to CNBC Africa. You can read the text below.

On whether he was on notice with respect to his suspension: Well, I have been told by my office that a letter was received. As you know, I flew in this morning to Niamey along with other Governors of West African Central Banks to meet with the President of Niger and President of Ghana…Fortunately, I came in with my VP Sarah Alade whom I have been asked to hand over to. I have left the meeting to hand over to her. I have just met the Nigerian Ambassador to Niger who confirmed to me that the President asked him to inform me of the decision.

On accusations of “various acts of financial misconduct and recklessness” he said: I don’t know what they are talking about. When I come back, I will see what those allegations are…I don’t think there is any issue raised that has not been raised before. We all know what this is about. This is about consequences for decisions I have taken… This is something that is long overdue. I am surprised it took them so long.

On concerns for the market: Basically, my concern is for the safety of the market…I have had a wonderful time in service to my country. I would not want to see all of my work unraveled. No individual is worth it.

On whether his suspension is politically motivated: It is not for me to comment. I am not sure that erm… I think the answer to that is obvious…there is a legal question of whether the president has the authority to suspend the Governor and whether suspension is not removal. It will be helpful to establish the principles by court.

Even if I challenge it, I will not go back to the job. Even if I challenge it successfully, I will not go back to it. I think it will be in the interest of the institution for the courts to establish once and for all if the president has the powers to do this… If it is not challenged, the next Central Bank Governor cannot be independent with fear of being suspended by a politician. I do plan to have the courts confirm if indeed that authority exists and I will challenge it.

On his legacy: He pointed out Low inflation. Stable exchange rate. Reformed and well governed banking system, robust reserve, independent central bank, financial inclusion, systems reform…history will record this, nothing is going to change that. You can suspend an individual, you can’t suspend the truth. And this is all about these concerns around oil revenues, around decadence in the oil sector and if this is going to bring about the $20 billion then that’s fine.

Sanusi Lamido also emphasized the fact that he trusted the competence of his successor Sarah Alade and the other deputy governors to continue his good work. His grouse seemed to be on the legality of his suspension and the future independence of the CBN Governor. He insisted he’d go to the courts to contest the arbitrariness of his suspension, citing the fact that the President himself did not sign his suspension letter as it was signed by the Secretary to the Federal Government. He finished by saying he had no regrets or ill feelings towards anyone on the matter.