Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Executive and an Errant Cabinet Member: Lamido Sanusi Saga and a Lesson in a Republic

President Goodluck and Lamido Sanusi
The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is composed of 3 distinct branches; the legislative, the executive and the judicial.  Of the 3 branches the Executive, with the President as the head, is the face of Nigeria.  The success or failure of a Nigerian government will be etched in history with the name of the President as its head. The era is often named after the presidency. Not the legislature or the judiciary. And there may be little notations here and there about the roles of the cabinets, the legislature and the judiciary in the failure of such era,  Cabinet positions including that of the Head of the Central Bank, are appointed by the presidency to assist in the running of the government and the implementation of its policies. The constitutionality of the powers of the president to appoint and to dismiss a non-elected officer in his government on the basis of sub per expectations and poor performances, are unquestionable.
However, both the legislative and judiciary are empowered to vet each case of appointment and dismissal so as to mitigate abuse of power, cronyism, nepotism or any violation of the constitutional powers of the executive. In essence, there are checks and balances for all the branches of the government for the survival of our republic. In a democracy, this is critical to a modern democratic development.

The Case
Upon review of the over-reaching activities, with documented evidences, at the Central Bank under the leadership of Mr. Sanusi, we were mystified.  We are particularly more concerned at the recalcitrance, the effrontery and the challenge to the constitutional powers of the presidency by an appointed member of his cabinet. The absurdity of this intransigence has exposed the disloyalty of Mr. Sanusi to this administration and to all Nigerians. Mr. Sanusi's reckless utterances are the affirmation of his partisanship. It is reasonable to infer from these utterances that this man will do anything to undermine this administration. By his own admission, Mr. Sanusi  admitted that he was surprised at how long it took the presidency to act on the excesses at the Apex bank. To Mr. Sanusi, we say that it took this long because Nigeria is a democracy, with respect for due process.  In a dictatorship, the dismissal of Mr. Sanusi would have been swift and he would have no rights to recourse.

We must fully investigate all the issues raised by Mr. Sanusi. The accounting system at the NNPC and the operating expenditures at the legislature among others.  Sometimes, your worst critics may be your best teachers. 

Mr. Sanusi has the constitutional rights to seek redress before the legislature and the judiciary if he feels malign by any of the presidential decisions.

Mr. Sanusi has no locus standi to remain in this administration.  The judiciary will do their job to lecture Mr. Sanusi, as they must, on the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the legislature must do their best not to politicize this case.

Again we repeat; in a dictatorship, the dismissal of Mr. Sanusi would have been swift and he would have no rights to recourse.  The delay of action on this matter by the presidency must not be seen as a sign of weakness, but a strength.  It is a stealth decision based on due process and the respect for the rule of law and order.  This is consistent with the constitution of the Republic.  Therefore, we hail Mr. President for his good stewardship of our democracy.

At Center for Modern Nigeria, we call for the dismissal of Mr Sanusi with no further delay.

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