The controversy surrounding the planned exit of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, deepened on Thursday with the governor insisting that he would not quit the post until his term expired on June 2, 2014.
In keeping with his vow, which analysts see as a direct confrontation with President Goodluck Jonathan, Sanusi has said he will not proceed on his terminal leave in March as initially being speculated.
The President had reportedly asked the CBN governor to resign immediately because of the alleged deliberate leakage of the letter that Sanusi wrote to him in which the governor accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of not remitting $49.8bn crude oil revenue to the Federation Account.
Sanusi was said to have denied leaking the letter to former President Olusegun Obasanjo or anyone for that matter, and allegedly told the President that he could only be removed by two-thirds of members of the Senate as required by law.
The governor reportedly told the President that the letter was available in the Presidential Villa, the Ministry of Finance and the CBN, and wondered how he could be accused of leaking it.
One of our correspondents learnt on Thursday that Sanusi expressed his determination to remain in office until the expiration of his one-term tenure of five years on June 2 during a meeting with top management officers of the bank on Wednesday.
The Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor, confirmed the development in a chat with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the governor used the opportunity provided by the “family meeting” to clear doubts surrounding the expiration of his tenure.
Okoroafor said, “The CBN is an important organisation in the economy of this country and we have to be careful in whatever we do because our actions send a strong message to the economy as a whole.
“The governor had a meeting with officials of the central bank and it was like a family meeting; and in that meeting, he made it clear that he is not going anywhere until his tenure expires in June.
“He is not proceeding on retirement leave by March as being speculated; rather, he will be retiring on June 2 this year when he will be completing his five-year single tenure.”
According to Okoroafor, the CBN governor will formally announce his retirement in March, when his successor is expected to be named, and will remain in office until June 2.
Both chambers of the National Assembly declined comments on the alleged plan by the Federal Government to sack Sanusi.
The spokesperson for the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe, and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, said the National Assembly would not be dragged into “a mere rumour.”
Abaribe, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said, “The Senate will not make any comment on any issue that is not before it. It remains a rumour until it is properly communicated to the Senate.”
Mohammed also said, “I have no comment to make. The National Assembly as an institution will not be dragged into any controversy based on a mere allegation.”
Efforts to get the Presidency’s reaction did not yield any positive result as the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, did not respond to calls made to his mobile telephone line, nor respond to text messages sent to the same line.