—JONATHAN TO SHETTIMA:
—Says Sanusi remains CBN gov until…
–— Recants on power deadline
Without military personnel in Borno state, Governor Kashim Shettima cannot stay even in Government House, Maiduguri, President Goodluck Jonathan has said.
Jonathan spoke in Abuja last night during a Presidential Media Chat while answering questions on the issues raised by the governor about the capacity of the military personnel to tackle the incessant attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Governor Shettima had while speaking with journalists at the Villa in Abuja, said the insurgents were better motivated and equipped than the military, even as he commended the soldiers for giving their best.
Condemning the statement yesterday, Jonathan said the governor’s comments were wrong because the governor cannot stay in Government House if the military personnel are pulled out of the state.
He said: “If we pullout the military from Borno state, let us see if he will be able to stay in the Government House,” stressing that the killings in the state were worrisome and that “surely we’ll get over it.”
The president also dismissed reports that the federal government was planning to appoint a military administrator to take over from Shettima, saying he was not aware of such plan.
On the issue of power following the recent privatisation of some government assets, the president said power supply would soon improve, recanting his earlier position that there would be constant power supply in most parts of the country by May this year.
The president also disclosed that the National Conference would be inaugurated on March 10, 2013, but that the chairman, secretary and key officials of the conference would be announced on March 3.
He said the conference would not discuss the country’s unity because he cannot preside over the disintegration of Nigeria.
“Nigeria will not disintegrate. We are not saying without the National Conference, Nigeria will break. Our tenure is short, the result of this National Conference will not affect this administration significantly,” he said.
On the controversial removal of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the president said he has absolute powers to suspend the CBN governor as, according to him, “the issue of suspension and removal are very different. Sanusi is still the CBN governor.”
The president said Sanusi was suspended in order to properly investigate and resolve the grey areas in the bank’s 2012 audit reports in which the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) indicted him of some financial misconduct.
He said there is no time that is inappropriate to suspend any government official, stressing that the continued stay of the CBN governor in office while investigation was on might influence its outcome.
Jonathan, who said the CBN is not properly defined in the constitution, also faulted the CBN Act for making the governor the head of the bank’s board
He said the prosecution of the former CBN governor on the issues raised in the reports depended on the outcome of the investigation, adding that “if Sanusi has no case to answer, how will you prosecute one who has no case?”
The president also promised to ensure that the $20 billion oil money Sanusi alleged was missing is recovered.
Responding to questions on the forthcoming general elections, Jonathan said his recent visits to traditional rulers across the country and constant participation in church and party activities, have nothing to do with the 2015 presidential elections as speculated in some quarters.
Asked if he would run for the presidential elections, the president refused to answer directly, saying there would be political tension if he makes a categorical statement on the issue.
He said, however, that “even if I do not contest, I will like to lead my party to victory.”