The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says President Muhammadu Buhari is unwilling to rein in the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele so that old and new N200, N500 and N1,000 notes would co-exist for the next six months to alleviate the suffering of the masses.
The group also said the naira redesign policy of the CBN and its attendant cash crunch demarkets the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming February 25 and March 11, 2023 general elections.
NEF Spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed stated this on Tuesday on The 2023 Verdict, Channels Television’s special election programme.
He said the President should not have allowed this kind of “fiasco” to come into play in the last days of his eight-year administration and on the “eve of an election when you are actually campaigning to have your own party voted for’.
“This money thing is a major demarketing thing for the APC,” Baba-Ahmed said.
“If the worst enemy of APC had design strategy for them to lose this election, he couldn’t have chosen a better fiasco around the reprinting of the naira.”
According to him, the informal sector of the economy has been destroyed in the last few weeks because there is no liquid cash.
The NEF spokesman said, “There is a lot of anger and to see a situation where the President rather appears unwilling or incapable of reining in Emefiele and say, ‘Listen, perhaps we can allow the old naira and the new naira co-exist for the next six months’.
“President Buhari apparently doesn’t listen to anybody. Emefiele says I will do what I should do because the President has got my back. And Nigerians are saying we know the governor of the CBN is not who is doing all these; it is the President.
“If the President doesn’t want all this suffering and considers the other options, the governor of the CBN won’t get away with these things he is getting away with.”
Following the outcry by many Nigerians, the CBN had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500 and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10 but the Supreme Court held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue on February 15. Already, at least more than seven APC states have sued the Federal Government.
However, the governor of the apex bank on Tuesday insisted that the February 10 deadline for the validity of old notes stands. Already, banks and filling stations as well as other commercial ventures have started rejecting old notes effective February 10.
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