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Cashless Policy: Outrage greets ‘rebellion’ of Buhari’s men
Politics

Cashless Policy: Outrage greets ‘rebellion’ of Buhari’s men

The polity was awash with outrage, yesterday, over the apparent ‘rebellion’ of otherwise strong backers of President Muhammadu Buhari, three months to the end of his tenure, over the Naira

  • PublishedFebruary 17, 2023

The polity was awash with outrage, yesterday, over the apparent ‘rebellion’ of otherwise strong backers of President Muhammadu Buhari, three months to the end of his tenure, over the Naira redesign policy that is heating up the polity.

Governors Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Matawalle (Zamfara), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), and Umar Ganduje (Kano); as well as House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila are among ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, governors and leaders, who have publicly and frontally opposed the implementation of the new naira policy.

Indeed, El-Rufai, Bello and Matawalle took the matter to the Supreme Court and got an interim order restraining the Federal Government from ending the use of the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes, on February 10. Initially, the order was till February 15 when the matter was slated for hearing and now extended to February 22 and anytime the matter is determined.

On Thursday, President Buhari, during a nationwide broadcast, extended the use of the old N200 note to April 10 and declared that the old N500 and N1000 ceased to be legal tender on February 10 as affirmed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. However, Governor el-Rufai, urged Kaduna residents to continue spending the old notes and threatened to sanction any commercial bank, businesses and anyone rejecting the old notes in Kaduna.

‘Let no artificial and illegal deadline frighten you. Whether you live in towns, villages or in our isolated rural communities, do not feel stampeded to deposit your old notes in the banks. Hold on to them because the law is on your side,” el-Rufai said. Governors Dapo Abiodun and Sanwo-Olu also issued similar directives in Ogun and Lagos. Currently, there is tension in the land, many banks have been burnt across the country on account of the scarcity of the new naira notes and even the old ones. Yesterday, protests raged in Lagos; Ibadan, Oyo State and some parts of the country over the naira scarcity that has also been worsened by fuel scarcity.

APC govs, leaders’ attack on Buhari shocking, rebellious

Some stakeholders of the Niger Delta, yesterday, described the jarring tone between the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, and other APC leaders opposed to President Buhari’s cashless policy, as rebellious and an in-house burst of strange bedfellows.

However, some said the governors and leaders were right in confronting President Buhari over the cashless policy.

Inciting comments – Umoh, ex-A-Ibom speaker

Former Speaker of Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Hon. Peter Umoh Friday, who said the rebellion by el-Rufai and others regarding the cashless policy was surprising, said: “They are all of the same APC; they know how deeply the policies of their government have negatively impacted Nigerians from the beginning.

“Their action against the cashless policy is surprising because they are all of the same party. Therefore, their comments are not only unbecoming but also inciting and treasonable. Moreover, it is most unfortunate that it is happening within the same party.

“For me, I do not think it is tenable for anyone to say that the cashless policy and the time of implementation of the policy are targeted at any single individual, or at the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju BolaTinubu. We are running a democracy where Nigerians, on February 25, will be entitled to vote for whomever they want. So people should stop saying it is targeted at a particular person.”

Govs standing for the people, not revolting – Robinson, PANDEF spokesperson

However, the National Publicity Secretary, PANDEF, Hon Ken Robinson, told Saturday Vanguard that what el-Rufai, Ganduje, Bello, and others, including the governor of Rivers State, were doing was not a rebellion, but rather standing with the people of Nigeria.

“The way the new naira policy is managed is completely unacceptable. So, encourage the governors to stand firm. I think the president does not want a peaceful transition. They are trying to instigate a crisis to give reason to shift the election and impose an interim government,” he said.

Buhari policy is for the masses – Deeyah – KAGOTE

President of KAGOTE, (Khana, Gokana, Tai, and Eleme) the apex socio-cultural group of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers state, Hon Emmanuel Deeyah, said: “The Supreme Court has given an order in a matter that is before it, and that the presidency does not want to obey. The policy is bad.

“We have three arms of government. If there is blatant disrespect for other arms of government what then are we running? Is it not a dictatorship? People have to speak up. What is important is the effect of the policy on the masses and not the impact on Tinubu. The focus of every government should be the people.

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Strange bedfellows – Wills, ex-commissioner

Former Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iniruo Wills, said: “It’s an internal implosion of the dysfunctional contraption of strange bedfellows called APC, that rickety political behemoth that has been hurtling Nigeria down into its worst recesses for eight years.”

“As for the Naira crisis manufactured by the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, it does not deserve to be called anything, but a policy of economic idiocy. How does any government levy a causeless currency crunch or wage a war of economic repression on its own people?’’

Not for common interest – Alagoa, environmentalist

An Environmentalist, Comrade Morris Alagoa,  said: “In as much  as Nigerians of all walks of life are experiencing this particular kind of pain, occasioned by Naira redesign never experienced before, those sounding discordant tune from the presidency are not doing so in the common interest of Nigeria and the masses.

“It is for the narrow and selfish interests of those hoping to gain from the presidency of Tinubu should he win the race to Aso Rock. Interestingly, they are doing this because they also have considered the fact that Buhari is leaving soon. Yes, they could not have done this if Buhari was still serving his first tenure.”

It is for self-seeking reasons – Clarkson, lawyer

Niger Delta activist and lawyer, Barrister Amaebi Clarkson, retorted: “It is typical of Nigerian politicians to always abandon you when you are no longer in a position of power. Recall that the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai, branded Buhari as unelectable in 2011, but immediately he (Buhari) became the president, he (el-Rufai) became the Good Friday man and prided himself on the think tank of the presidency.”

“Governor Yahaya Bello even declared a public holiday in Kogi states the day Buhari came back from his long medical trip abroad, while House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, endorsed all the policies of the Buhari administration, including approving his numerous foreign loans running into trillions.

“These hitherto appendages are now fighting the administration solely because they knew that Buhari would soon be powerless in a couple of days. They portray their onslaught against Buhari in these later days as people-oriented, but we are not deceived.

“They are doing this for their selfish ends, possibly to legitimize the huge funds they had stashed in their warehouses. They cannot fool Nigerians with their antics; we know that one of these latter-day saints is a dollar hound. Let him convert his stolen naira to dollars and let the rest of us who support the Naira redesign policy bear the temporary pains.”

I’m shocked by their tantrums — Okechukwu

Mr. Osita Okechukwu, Director-General of VON and a chieftain of the APC, said: “As one of the Buharists, I am yet to recover from the embarrassment over their tantrums and court action against Mr. President and the monetary policy.

‘’Why didn’t they discuss with Mr. President before going to the market arena? I am flabbergasted to say the least, because they all have access to Mr. President.

‘’I am yet to factor how on earth they were the most hurt, out of millions of Nigerians as per Naira Redesign.

Truly, I don’t know any of them as Crusader of the Poor. I stand to be corrected. The truism is that in the fullness of time their main motive will be known.”

There’s division in APC—-YCE

Responding to the rebellion of the APC governors, the General Secretary of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Chief Dipo Oyewole said: “Quite candidly, there is a division in the house because the Federal Government is the holder of all authorities in the country. If the Federal Government says one thing and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who is the number four citizen of Nigeria, and governors of two important states say something different, then you know that that is a combination that will not hold.

“They are within the party and bonafide controlling members of the APC, who have strong views to express. You can see that the centre is not holding.

“As a Nigerian and secretary of the YCE, I see more difficulties for our people because the future of our children is seriously being toyed with and we must not allow this to continue. Governor Nasir el-Rufai, in his broadcast, said there will be an economic collapse and once there is an economic collapse, Nigerians will be wasted away. Must we as visionary people wait until that happens? Therefore, we are calling on the President to take a critical look at the situation where people are suffering deeply and must not allow chaos in the country. We are all being pushed to the wall and the view of the YCE is that we should impress it on the president to rethink this policy.

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“The opposition parties are not opposed to the President because it is part of a game plan. We are not comfortable as Yoruba people with what is going on and we do know that some people are working hard to ensure power stays in the North.’’

Why Nigerians support governors—Afenifere

When contacted, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr Jare Ajayi, said the APC governors’ rebellion is an attempt to save lives of people.

Ajayi said: “The action by some APC governors to ameliorate the conditions of the people of their state is a welcome one. It shows that they are helmsmen, who are responsive and sensitive to the plight of their citizens. That is how any responsible leader should act.

“It is not surprising, therefore, that Governor el-Rufai and his counterparts are taking the kind of steps they are taking to ameliorate the plight of their citizens.

’Ordinarily, it may look like a rebellion to some people, but it is a rebellion to save lives.

“In this particular case, the president said he consulted the governors and Council of State but his broadcast did not reflect the outcome of that consultation.

“I believe many Nigerians are in support of the governors because we are in a federation and whoever is in charge must carry the people along. In this case, the governors are closer to the people than the president and he must factor in the governors so long as it fulfils the aspirations of the people.”

It’s an attempt by govs to restore decorum —Bankole-Hameed, coordinator, TEAM PROSPER

On his part, the National Chairman of Team Prosper, a grass root organization for the actualization of Bola Tinubu’s presidential ambition, Mr Shehu Bankole-Hameed explained that the perceived rebellion by the APC governors is to restore decorum in the polity.

Bankole-Hameed said: “When you read through the speech of Mr President, it is heavy on technicalities, economic jargon and innuendos. The average person, particularly those whose lives are most affected, could only hear N200, no mention of the last resort of the common man- the supreme court. This action itself is a rebellious one against the judiciary, justice and a critical tenet of democracy.

“In the light of this, the response of the governors’ mention to me is an attempt to restore decorum in the polity.’’

El-Rufai is right, old notes are still legal tender by Supreme Court order— Rep Chinda

To Rep Kingsley Chinda, representing Obior/ Akpor federal constituency of Rivers State:  “The decision of the Supreme Court is law, this is against an executive pronouncement of Mr President. Gov El Rufai is therefore right and in line with the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Again, every sane democratic society must deliberately strengthen its institutions of government and work towards building strong institutions and not strong individuals.

“By the pronouncement of the Supreme Court, the old notes are still legal tender in Nigeria regardless of the President’s address which goes to no issue.

“The CBN policy, as economically sound as it may be, is politically flawed and socially provocative. The timing is inexcusably wrong. The society was left out in the decision, the policy is not democratic as it is not by the people and of the people.”

El-Rufai loves seeking attention-Kaduna CAN Chairman

On his part, Rev John Joseph Hayab, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN,  Kaduna State, said:  “El-Rufai loves seeking attention and does not keep his friendship and humility for anybody for a long time.

His broadcast yesterday to the people of Kaduna was as if Kaduna State has another commander in Chief different from President Buhari.

“I believe knowledgeable people from Kaduna State know the difference between obeying the constitution and rebellion against constituted authority.

“The CBN law is a federal law, not a state law, Governor El-Rufai and his few friends should not confuse citizens of their states with their rebellious approach to national matters.

CAN will pray for our  Supreme Court justices to be able to address this matter next week to bring to an end the needless controversy that those manipulating the currency redesigned saga are trying to take advantage of.”

Govs, not Buhari boys — CNG

Spokesperson of the Coalition of Northern Groups CNG, Suleiman Abdul-Azeez, said: “I really don’t believe the governors that are confronting Buhari on the issue of Naira redesign, withdrawal limit and swap deadline have ever been Buhari boys.

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“They’re just everyday politicians playing the power game. In politics, you don’t expect lasting loyalty, it’s a game of ascendancy that everyone plays to suit his personal agenda.

“Otherwise we’ll begin to wonder why Buhari at this point is not really committed to the course of the grand master who literally bankrolled his 2015 election victory, the Asiwaju.

“El-Rufai and almost all the others confronting the Federal Government had at one time or another been with different godparents whom they eventually ditched and moved on.

And I don’t want to believe that Buhari had even done anything to warrant claiming any loyalty.

Perhaps, it was handed to him and he lost it by his own actions and inactions. No sane power seeker with an eye on the future would afford to be seen as part of the unfolding mess. I think Buhari can afford that only because this is his last time to seek power which is perhaps why he chose to launch this sad circumstance at the very end of his tenure.”

It shows mismanagement of Nigeria by APC -Ahamba

To Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN, what is happening is mismanagement of the country by the ruling APC.

“They have all agreed that there is mismanagement of the country by the APC, they are in full agreement that there is mismanagement of the country by the APC. They have agreed that there is wrong going on,” he said.

On his advice regarding the policy, he said, “they should do everything legally possible. They are holding the naira.”

Ezeife backs Naira redesign policy

Former Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife expressed support for Buhari’s naira redesign policy, so long as it would guarantee free, fair and credible elections in the country

He said the only good legacy Buhari can leave for Nigerians after his tenure is ensuring a free, fair, transparent and credible election in 2023 as

he promised, adding, “as you can see, this naira redesign policy is geared towards discouraging vote buying and money politics.”

On conflicts between Buhari and some APC governors over the policy, Ezeife said that the constitution places financial policy in the exclusive list of the Federal Government, which empowers Buhari and CBN to decide the fiscal policy of the country.

He contended that the new naira redesign policy in the country is so strategic that it would help to curb vote buying and money politics capable of leading to election rigging and other election malpractices.

CSOs speak

Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), said: “The current situation where some APC governors appear to openly oppose the President over the Naira resign policy clearly shows that there is a crack in the ruling party.

“It’s unfortunate that barely three months to the end of the President’s tenure, he appears to be in a hurry to implement this ‘anti-people’ policy which is showing no appreciable effect on the rates of corruption and inflation as well as Improving the economy of the country.

“Even the President’s intention to curb vote-buying appears not to materialise as Nigerians would have expected because most of the politicians have strong connections with the banks and are even big shareholders and directors in the banks.

“Vote-buying does not just happen on election days. It could also take place before or after the election. Besides, vote sellers could be paid in foreign currencies and with assets that are not necessarily Naira notes.

“The policy is ‘anti-people’ and there appears not to be sufficient consultations before the introduction of the policy. That is why some of the governors from his party are against it openly.”

Also, Dr. Zikirullahi Ibrahim, Executive Director of the Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education, said: “The 2023 general election is exhibiting all the signs that were available in 1993 which later brought about the annulment of the June 12 presidential poll that year.

“It is a well-established international standard that six months before any general elections, the government must not introduce any policy that could affect the electoral process. Doing that would mean that the international community will call the government to order.

“When the Naira redesign policy was introduced, some of these governors opposing the President today were part of those clamouring for it. Perhaps, they thought that they will have their own way while only the poor will suffer its effects.

“Having realised that the policy will not help their predetermined objectives this electioneering season, these governors are now crying while putting on the garb of protests against the policy.”

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