Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state has alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari’s aims at truncating Nigeria’s democracy with the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Ganduje made this allegation at a meeting with the Forum of Former Parliamentarians, North-West zone in Kano during the week.
The former lawmakers had visited to intimate Ganduje of their resolve to support the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Recall that Kano is one of the states before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of the policy. Ganduje’s allegation came in the wake of the hardship Nigerians are passing through in accessing the new N200, N500 and N1, 000 notes.
Buhari had in his address to Nigerians on Thursday said the naira swap was meant to tame inflation and other infractions. The Kano governor is previously not known for openly criticising President Buhari as he had been one of the people that worked hard to sell the president to the electorate.
But, Ganduje said it was unfortunate that despite the collective efforts made by the APC to ensure Buhari’s election victories in 2015 and 2019 after several losses, the president had resolved to pay the party and those that supported him back by destroying the party that brought him to power.
He said, “Imagine someone has been contesting without winning elections until after a merger was formed. He won the election and spent four years and re-contested again and he won, now that he is about to go, he is doing nothing but to destroy the party that elected him,” Ganduje said.
On the policy, Ganduje asked why the president and CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele did not think of the policy seven years ago and why it had to be on the eve of an election.
“What is wrong with doing it after elections? Why hasn’t he done this in the past seven years? What is the meaning of all these? This CBN governor is not a politician; he doesn’t know anything about politics. How can a politician enjoy this policy? Imagine how as a leader you watch banks engulfed by fire, if not that the democracy has decayed, will that be possible?
“How is it possible when the World Bank said the policy is wrong, the IMF said it is wrong, other leaders said it is wrong, but you said you need seven days to think over it? The poor man selling vegetables will have his goods rotten (before the end of the thinking period), that is why I close down one supermarket for rejecting the old notes. The Supreme Court has said the old notes are still a legal tender, that is why any bank that refuses to collect, I will revoke their certificate and if they do that, they cannot work”, he said.
Ganduje also stated that Tinubu would revoke the policy after the election. He said the policy was not that of the ruling party but they are aware this is part of the plot to ensure elections do not hold, saying the development is similar to how MKO Abiola was denied of being president.
“It was like this at the time of SDP with the Association of Better Nigeria (ABN); the CBN governor is the ABN of this dispensation.
“Therefore, this is even beyond not wanting someone to win the election; it is democracy itself they don’t want. They want to set up an interim government committee like that of (Ernest) Shonekan.
“Which credible politician do you think they can put to head such a committee? Except you just bring people that do not represent the masses but their families, those are the ones you can bring to form interim government,” he said, adding that these people will be puppeteer to ensure only the candidate of their choice emerges victorious.
The convener of the former parliamentarian forum, Alhaji Adamu Panda, said the forum agreed that the next president should be someone who believes in the philosophy of building the people in building the nation.
He said they believed that the unwritten agreement between the North and the South must be respected and keeping the country stable and united must therefore be of importance to all.
“Support for power-shift is therefore necessary for us,” he said.
The forum also said the North backing any other presidential candidate aside from Tinubu could jeopardise the budding relationship between the North and the South, which could see the South West seek alliances elsewhere.
The Presidency counters Supreme Court
The presidency has yet to react on the claim of Ganduje.
President Buhari yesterday in his national broadcast declared that old N500 and N1000 notes were no longer legal tender, contrary to the Supreme Court’s injunction of February 8 restraining the CBN and federal government from phasing out the old notes by February.
Buhari acknowledged the hardship Nigerians are going through as a result of the naira redesign policy, saying he had directed the CBN to make new notes available.
He extended the validity of only old N200 notes to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10 2023.
The CBN naira redesign
The apex bank had redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes late last year and set a deadline of January 31 for the use of old naira notes. Buhari directed Nigerians to swap the affected currencies at the CBN and other designated places.
But after intense pressure, the CBN extended the deadline to February 10.
Some governors had filed a suit at the Supreme Court two days to the deadline and the court restrained the CBN from banning the use of the old naira notes from February 10, 2023, but Emefiele had said there was no need for the deadline to be shifted.
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