As African Business was going to press, the news came that the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lam ido Sanusi (right) had been given a letter from President Goodluck Jonathan suspending him with immediate effect. The outspoken Sanusi had caused a national uproar and ruffled feathers within the government when he claimed that around szobn of oil sales had not been accounted for.
In the letter, Jonathan said the suspension was because the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other investigative bodies had accused Sanusi of 'financial recklessness and misconduct' as well as far-reaching irregularities under his watch.
The President nominated Godwin Eme-fiele, managing director of Zenith Bank, as the new Central Bank Governor. The Central Bank Deputy Governor, Dr Sarah Alade, will serve as Acting Governor till Emefie takes over when Sanusi would have officially retired. Reports indicated that Sanusi would challenge the validity of the suspension.
Monday Ubani, the chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association Ikeja Branch, said Sanusi has the right to challenge the President's authority in court. "I must say that the President has to be careful. There are some people who believe that Sanusi is doing well. He may attract some sympathy or be seen as oppressed."
He added that what the President has done could create uncertainty and affect the economy negatively. "It may create a ripple effect in the economy. The 2014 budget is not yet passed. Interest rates are high. So many things are not in order and the President is creating a crisis of this nature."
On the other hand, Austin Nweze, senior lecturer at Pan Atlantic University, said: "Most of Sanusi's achievements are all hype. He abandoned his monetary policy role to encroach on fiscal policies. The President took the right decision."
Okechukwu Unegbu, the former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, said the President could not remove Sanusi, but he could suspend him.
"What the President has done is legal. Sanusi is still the Governor of the Central Bank until June. However, nomination of his replacement remains in order," he said.
Richard Obire, the former Director of Keystone Bank, said the suspension had not been a surprise. "The Presidency has been upset with the governor. They were biding their time. The President will not want to convey the impression that Sanusi stood his ground after he asked him to resign last month. If he had stayed till June, it...