New naira: Emefiele’s policy designed to scuttle elections – Oshiomhole
Former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole described the naira policy, the implementation of which started in January, as one designed to scuttle the elections scheduled for February 25 and March 11.
“It (policy) is ill-conceived, not well-thought-out and poorly timed,” Oshiomhole said.
The former Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President accused the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, of taking advantage of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption posture to pit him against Nigerians.
Oshiomhole spoke yesterday on a Channels Television programme, ‘The 2023 Verdict’.
Also yesterday, members of the House of Representatives threatened to cut their recess, should the scarcity of the new naira notes persist.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who dropped the hint in Lagos, said members of the Green Chambers will continue to monitor the policy implementation.
According to the Speaker, the House may reconvene before the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, if the CBN failed to address the hardship being faced by Nigerians as a result of the currency swap policy.
The CBN had introduced N1000, N500 and N200 notes and set a February 10 deadline to rest the old bills.
But the policy threw Nigerians into hardship following the cash crunch at the banking halls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
Faulting the policy, Oshiomhole, who is a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said the policy was unilaterally conceived by Emefiele to deceive the President.
He said: “I am sorry to say that it is not a secret that he wanted to contest for the APC presidential ticket.
“He bought N100 million APC nomination form and the President directed that all those who wanted to contest for the presidential ticket should resign their appointments.
“I remember that during that time he went to the Villa, I believe, he went to consult and when they asked him if he had been cleared to proceed on his political ambition, he said, there will be big news soon.
“The only news we have heard is this change of currency. We have not heard the news of why he didn’t proceed with his political ambition.
“We didn’t hear anything from him. The only news we heard is the naira redesign. Emefiele could have chosen a policy that will discredit the party.
“And unfortunately, everybody knows that President Buhari’s constituency in Nigeria is the army of the poor.
“The elite have never supported him. And it is these poor people who are hit the most by this policy.
“When you talk about vote buying, we have moved from a situation that all you need is to compromise the police and the INEC, then, you write the results and they are declared and you start balancing the ballot paper later.
“You can see that the tension in the bank is not to eliminate abuses, but to prevent the election from taking place.
“The policy will hurt the election process as the INEC will have to revise its budget as the allocated funds to buy PMS and to bring election materials cannot meet that need now.
“It is in that context that whoever scuttles the election would have scuttled the chances of the APC winning the election.
“I am happy that the National Assembly captured the mood of the people. This is because what separates dictatorship and democracy is the presence of the parliament.
“They live and represent 360 constituencies across the 774 local government areas in Nigeria. They are in touch with their people and they have spoken”.
On the redesigning of the naira, Oshiomhole said: “I believe that Emefiele, knowing the posture of the President against corruption, used that to achieve other objectives.”
The former Labour leader also backed allegations by Kaduna State Governor Malam Nasir El-Rufai that some cabal in the State House have colluded to de-market the ruling party.
He said: “Talking about elements in the Villa, I like to speak to faces, though some people may not like that. I will not want to talk about elements, but I prefer to mention names.
“He (Emefiele) has cited his powers under the law. He didn’t say he was acting under pressure. So, I believe him.
“I, therefore, make bold to say that the decision is a product of his own womb; it is ill-conceived, not well-thought out and poorly-timed to create this hardship.”