Naira Crisis: Presidency Warns El-Rufai, Ganduje, Others

Naira Crisis: Presidency Warns El-Rufai, Ganduje, Others

The presidency has warned the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai and that of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje, among others, against dangerous allegations of planned interim government, saying it is aimed at creating panic and inciting members of the public against the federal government.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement on Friday titled, ‘Stop the Joke about Interim Government, Elections Will Hold’, noted that the talk was “a dangerous dimension by the people who are afraid that they might lose their election.”

He was reacting to comments by El-Rufai and Ganduje respectively, alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement on the retirement of the old N500 and N1,000 notes despite a pending dispute before the Supreme Court was a ploy to truncate the country’s democracy and install an interim government.

“Let us clearly, specifically and emphatically state that there is absolutely no truth to the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is working towards an interim government, or even worse, the truncation of democracy – a democracy that he has helped to keep alive, not only here at home, in West Africa but throughout the continent.

“The talk of an interim government and truncation of democracy is way off the mark. Those who peddle it stand to gain nothing  at all but the creation of panic and incitement of the public against the federal government,” Shehu stated.

He stated that it was due to the president’s concern about the suffering of the people, brought about by the currency redesigning and swap policy that made him open various channels of consultation with leaders and groups across the country, culminating in his Thursday broadcast.

The president had during the broadcast directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to re-circulate the old N200 notes as legal tender until April 10, effectively retiring the old N500 and N1,000.

“In line with his speech, his clear directive is that the problem of cash supply must be cleared without delay.

“While this is being done, there is no need to panic. We need to work together as leaders, a people and country. When panic hits, people go into overdrive. Shouting helps no one because no one can listen.

“The solution to the problem is not in sending Nigerians into confusion.

“Elections, just a week ahead, will hold and Nigerians will vote for the All Progressives Congress and any others if they so wish, on the basis of their choices.

“Our people want progress, good governance, law and order and will not be swayed by the negative energy being expended against a well-meaning currency change.

“Finally, to state that the president clearly has a favoured successor in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is not in doubt.

“The fact that Tinubu has been opposed to the speed and timing of the naira swap timetable does not mean he is against the idea of Nigeria becoming a cashless society. Of course  he supports a cashless society; he is a man of the future.

“What should be made crystal clear to the doubters, speculators and untruth-tellers is that in no way was the naira swap “engineered” to keep the president in office beyond May 29. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“The president looks forward to handing over the reins of power to his elected successor. This will happen on May 29, 2023 as the constitution requires.

“The days of unelected Nigerian leaders and those who outstay their welcome by unconstitutionally extending it have gone.”

APC govs launch rebellion against Buhari

Some governors in the country have directed the continued use of old naira notes in their states in defiance of President Buhari’s announcement that only the old N200 notes would remain in circulation.

The governors of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos and Ogun states say their stance in opposition to the president’s pronouncement on Thursday complies with the Supreme Court interim order of February 8.

This is as the vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Datti Baba-Ahmed and other analysts have differed on the position of the governors.

Our correspondents also report that protesters besieged offices of the CBN as the naira redesigning and swap policy bites harder across the country.

On Friday, Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State insisted that all old naira notes remained legal tender in the state despite the president’s pronouncement that both N500 and N1,000 are no longer legal tender in Nigeria.

In a statement issued through his Commissioner for Information, Youths, Sports and Culture, Bala Ibrahim, Badaru noted that anybody rejecting the old notes was disobeying a court order and would be made to face the law.

He stated that the state government “wishes to inform members of the public that it has come to its notice that some individuals and corporate bodies are rejecting the now old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes. The Jigawa State Government is concerned about the conduct of such individuals and corporate bodies.”

Similarly, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State on Friday said the government will revoke the Certificate of Occupancy of companies or stores found rejecting the old naira notes.

In a tweet, the governor stated, “The Ogun State Government will be revoking the certificate of occupancy of any corporation or store that rejects old naira notes from members of the public in the state in exchange for goods and services.

“Commercial outlets are hereby reminded that there is an existing court order by the Supreme Court directing that old notes remain legal tender.”

Criticising President Buhari’s failure to comply with the order of the Supreme Court on the matter, Governor Ganduje of Kano State warned that he would revoke the licences of commercial banks and businesses in the state that would reject the old naira notes.

APC governors have vehemently kicked against the president’s decision.

Ganduje also stated that Tinubu would revoke the policy after the presidential election, adding that the policy was not that of the ruling party but a plot to ensure that elections would not hold, alluding to how MKO Abiola’s victory was truncated in 1993.

He said, “It was like this at the time of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) with the Association of Better Nigeria (ABN). The CBN governor is the ABN of this dispensation.

“This is even beyond not wanting someone to win the election; it is democracy itself that they don’t want. They want to set up an interim government committee like that of Ernest Shonekan.”

Kaduna Governor El-Rufai also slammed the president over the decision and asked residents of the state to continue using the old naira notes until the determination of the matter before the Supreme Court on February 23.

In his broadcast to the people of Kaduna State, El-Rufai urged them to stand up strongly for democracy, peace and national unity.

Datti Baba-Ahmed, Odinkalu, others tackle governors

The vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, has said that Governor  El-Rufai is close to committing treason over his comment on the validity of old naira notes, contradicting President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said this on Friday in Abuja at a press conference. He noted that the states that are at the forefront of the fight against the naira redesign policy contributed the highest number of votes to Buhari’s victory in the 2019 presidential election.

Senator Baba-Ahmed said, “Why would you as the commander-in-chief give an executive order and it is clearly constitutional and a state governor would say you should continue exchanging those currencies?

“This is to say there are two authorities. Why President Buhari is silent about this is best known to him. Immunity does not mean that the offence has not been committed.

“These state governments have not fought over the failure to secure Nigerians. Their states have become so insecure. They didn’t challenge Buhari when the naira fell from N200 to N750.

“It is with this drama in the election that they are challenging him, to the extent of giving counter orders. It is close to treason; lawyers will tell you that better.”

Baba-Ahmed also berated the federal government for non-compliance with the order of the Supreme Court on the old naira notes, describing it as poor leadership.

He said, “It was very strange that the Attorney-General of the Federation allowed Mr President to proceed with yesterday’s national broadcast.

“It was unfortunate. The least I know is that when a competent court of jurisdiction, for that matter, the Supreme Court, is addressing an issue, all parties stay action.”

He described the eight years of the APC-led administration as that of failed promises, assuring that the Obi-Datti administration has the courage to change the situation if given the opportunity to lead the country.

A human rights lawyer, Professor Chimdi Odinkalu, has criticised governors who are opposed to President Buhari’s broadcast on the old naira notes.

He said governors El-Rufai and Ganduje were not known to defend the rule of law and democracy.

In his view, an Abuja-based lawyer who did not want his name mentioned said he did not believe the governors were acting in the interest of the rule of law because, “it is the federal government, through the CBN, that regulates currency and what we term as legal tender.”

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has alerted Nigerians that the APC and the Tinubu Campaign Organisation are manipulating the polity and creating situations for the crisis to scuttle the 2023 general elections.

The spokesperson of the council, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Friday, said they were planning to turn the country into a war zone, “having come to the conclusion that he (Tinubu) cannot win in the February 25, 2023, presidential election.”

Ologbondiyan stated, “Nigerians must know that the APC and its presidential candidate, Tinubu, are the real enemies of our country. They are the manipulative “assailants” who parade as comforters; the same hands that play the war drums but pose the peacemakers; the very harbingers of evil who parade as the messiahs, but busy laying traps for our democracy and pushing Nigerians to insurrection just to achieve the selfish Emilokan ambition of ruling Nigeria.

“The questions begging for answers, which these anti-democratic elements are evading are: What was their response when the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) went on strike for eight months? Where have they been as insecurity continues to ravage our dear country? Why did these APC governors shy away from the problems of unemployment, poverty and socioeconomic development in this country? What were their responses to the issue of corruption in which they have played leading roles?”

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