The Leadership of the opposition, Labour Party, has described the sacking of the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, as unconstitutional and vindictive.
Acting National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, said this in Abuja, on Saturday.
The leadership of the Labour Party is disturbed by the decision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to suspend/sack the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, albeit unconstitutionally without seeking the permission of the national assembly and we insist that the action was not in good taste and sounds punitive.
The party said the sacking needed the approval of the Senate to give it legal backing and free of unconstitutionalism drawing inference from the view expressed by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Femi Gbajabiamila, who has been appointed as Chief of Staff to the President.
Drawing inspiration from what Femi Gbajabiamila, then Minority Leader, had said years ago (as quoted above) over a similar situation when President Goodluck Jonathan sacked former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, wherein he questioned the powers of the President in sacking the CBN Governor. The opposition leader made it clear that the President lacks powers under the laws of the land to sack the CBN boss. One wonders what has changed between that time and now.
Mr President has the right to ask the CBN governor to resign, same way, Nigerians have the right to ask him or anyone to resign. However, he does not have the powers to do so. Having a right is one thing, having the power is another. Many have asked Mr President to resign but lack the powers to compel him to do so, ”Femi Gbajabiamila, The minority leader of the House of Representatives, January 13, 2014″
It quoted the legislature at the time.
Femi Gbajabiamila is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives and also holds the enviable portfolio as the Chief of Staff to President Tinubu. He had then argued that the law requires the President to seek the approval of two third of the Senate to be able to sack the CBN Governor. Reasons being essentially to enforce the doctrine of Checks and Balances and to avoid the abuse of powers of a capricious and arbitrary President, while at the same time guaranteeing the autonomy of the CBN. But under Gbajabiamila’s watch, Emefiele was fired in a most unconstitutional and vindictive manner.
It is only in Nigeria that we find people that approbate and reprobate at the same time. People say one thing from one side of their mouth and another from the other side, especially when it favours them politically and otherwise. That explains why the country is in shamble: no rule of law, no equity, no justice, and no fair play. People don’t follow standard rules and procedures. That is why every aspect of our lives, be it our economic, political and social lives, is challenged.
Gbajabiamila because he was in the opposition at that time, he saw everything wrong with President Jonathan sacking Sanusi, today he is on the other side of the divide, he doesn’t see anything wrong with it. This is what Nigerians will face in the APC government, where perceived enemies are dealt with, perceive opposition parties and their members are dealt with, even when they are protected by the law.
Most Nigerians will not forget in a hurry the famous Naira redesign policy initiated by Emefiele primarily to check vote buying in the last general election. A noble policy which a particular candidate then, unfortunately, believed was targeted at him. To him, it was a mortal sin which cannot be forgiven and must be punished. Labour Party believes that Emefiele, a fall guy, is paying for his “sin”.
The government said the suspension of Emefiele is “sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy.”
It is laughable to read that statement as most Nigerians are already aware of the intention of the government. If indeed, there is any government agency that should be investigated with this utmost urgency, should it not be the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu? This is the institution that is responsible for the mockery of our democracy. This is an institution which asked and received N355 billion in taxpayers’ money to conduct, the worst-ever election in the history of Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa. This is election umpire that has shamelessly chosen to be partisan during and after election, even at the tribunal.
Finally, we urge the APC-led government to carry out a thorough investigation of the CBN and particularly, the last APC government’s interference in the operation of the apex bank. Nigerians will not tolerate political and peripheral investigation. We suggest a forensic auditing by an independent firm and by so doing, maybe the real culprits, not just Emefiele will be unearthed.