The Convener of the Save Nigeria Group, Tunde Bakare, has accused the President Goodluck Jonathan-led federal government of selective justice in the suspension of Lamido Sanusi, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
In his sermon on Sunday in Lagos, Mr. Bakare said the suspended CBN governor was a victim of delayed whistle blowing, adding that he ought to have spoken out during the 2012 fuel subsidy fraud crisis.
“Make no mistake about it, few men have the courage of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi,” said Mr. Bakare, the head pastor of The Latter Rain Assembly.
“Few men have the aristocratic dignity of a man who time and again, while in public office, raised his voice against profligacy and monetary imprudence especially among the legislators and sometimes among the executive; perhaps, no serving government official has been as outspoken against misgovernance as the suspended CBN Governor,” said Mr. Bakare.
“However, when the CBN, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the PPPRA, the NNPC and other agencies provided conflicting figures as to actual subsidy payments to the Ad-hoc Committee on the management of fuel subsidy, that may have been the opportune time to blow the whistle.
“Perhaps Sanusi Lamido Sanusi at the time did not have the facts he now has; perhaps, cautious and tactical in his fight against the corrupt system, he was conscious of the sensitivity of his office especially as regards the need to preserve the stability of the economy; perhaps, he had waited for a more appropriate time,” he added.
The federal governor suspended Mr. Sanusi from his post as CBN Governor over allegations of “financial recklessness and misconduct” against his bank.
Mr. Bakare accused the federal government of shielding the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, an agency he described as “the mountain of public corruption in Nigeria.”
“The picture of Okonjo Iweala, Diezani Allison Madueke and Sanusi at the December 18, 2013, joint press conference and their subsequent appearance in the Senate Committees is reminiscent of the events surrounding the fuel subsidy saga about two years ago,” Mr. Bakare said.
“On December 22, 2011, at a Town Hall Meeting organized by the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the trio, seated together, with smiling faces, jointly and spiritedly, as a tag-team, made a case for the removal of fuel subsidy based on the economics of the subsidy regime in which Nigeria, by subsidizing consumption, was exporting jobs to other countries and buffering the rich instead of the poor.
“As far as the corruption in the subsidy programme was concerned, the blame was rested squarely on the shoulders of the marketers and the conniving vague officials in various government agencies. No mention was made of that institution that had become the very embodiment of the cesspool of corruption in Nigeria.
“No mention was made of that institution through whose operations “the Nigerian state has become a big contract” (if I am permitted to use words once used by a man who was once on the side of truth but has become the mouthpiece by which the thief last Thursday accused the farm owner of theft, Reuben Abati).
“At that Town Hall Meeting where Sanusi Lamido sat with the petroleum minister who has, in the last three years, brazenly overseen the unprecedented looting, diversion and misappropriation of the nation’s resources and who has been indicted directly and indirectly by various reports, from the 2011 KPMG report to the 2012 Farouk Lawan Committee Report and from the 2012 Nuhu Ribadu Committee Report to the 2013 Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report, no mention was made of the NNPC that had become and still is the very symbol of the mountain of public corruption in Nigeria,” Mr. Bakare added.
When the Save Nigeria Group mobilized the masses to protest against the removal of fuel subsidy in 2012, Mr. Bakare said that the CBN Governor’s “corroborating voice” would have added weight to the outcry.
“When the Farouk Lawan Committee Report was released and we demanded prosecution of the oil minister and top officials of the NNPC as well as other indicted agencies over the theft of N310 billion by NNPC on kerosene subsidy in spite of an official policy against paying subsidy on the product.
“Over the theft by NNPC of N285b above the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPPRA) recommendation, over an NNPC self-discount of N108b, over the fact that the 210,000 barrels per day the NNPC allocates to swap/off shore price out of its 445,000 barrels of crude allocated daily was not reflected in its differential claims to subsidy and over the payment of N999m in 128 times within 24 hours to some companies totalling N127.872b by the office the Accountant-General of the Federation among other gross irregularities.
“Certainly, the corroborating voice of the CBN Governor would have sent tremors to Aso Rock. When some of our members insisted that the dollarization of the economy was fuelling corruption, a listening ear by the CBN Governor and appropriate monetary policy response might have incapacitated the subsidy racket,” Mr. Bakare said.
Mr. Bakare also stated that Mr. Sanusi was a victim of “delayed whistle blowing” and had opened the lid exposing the “very heads of the crime economy just too late.”
“Nevertheless, it is better late than never. Now that the whistle has been blown and the blower has become the object of persecution, we remain where we have always been – on the side of God and on the side of truth and we stand by those who pitch their tent on this side,” Mr. Bakare said.
“We will not shoot the wounded righteous soldier. In the midst of persecution, wounded they may be, let them rest on this side knowing that the arc of the moral universe may be long but it bends towards justice.”