Former President Muhammadu Buhari has vehemently supported the Central Bank of Nigeria’s redesign of the naira ahead of the 2023 general elections, claiming that the strategy resulted in a ‘clean election’ but failing to expand on what that means.
Buhari’s viewpoint is outlined in a new book, Working with Buhari: Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media, and Publicity (2015–2023), which President Bola Tinubu launched in Abuja on Tuesday.
Buhari discussed the controversial Naira redesign in detail in the book, as well as why he did not fire former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele when his presidential campaign posters appeared in the country and in the media.
Buhari said: “The scarcity of money was not deliberately done to punish Nigerians. Democracy allows people to express their will, and we did not attempt to confront them.
”People understood the implications of their choices, and we did not force them.
Buhari explained why he did not sack Emefiele while he campaigned across the country as a presidential candidate in 2023, claiming that the former CBN Governor never informed him that he was competing for the highest office in the country.
The former president said, “I met Emefiele in office when I came, and unless there was firm evidence against him, it would be unfair and an act of injustice to remove him, acting on heresay.”
“If you punish a man unjustly, it could dog his footsteps throughout life, so if you would punish, you must have evidence. And you should know that you won’t be there forever. You would leave one day.
“I am very conscious of the morale of the people who serve with me. I also expect whoever succeeds me to be fair to me. I have family and friends who will feel it. I’m very conscious of fairness.
I did not ask Emefiele about his involvement in the 2023 presidential campaign since he told no one. Otherwise, I would have dismissed him and informed the people as to why.
“There is no denying that the Naira redesign policy gave us cleaner elections. It was people who had too much money who had problems with it.
“When it was said that the new notes were not available, over N260 million was found with one bank chairman. Did I take on the Supreme Court on the issue? No, I could not have.
“Some APC governors went to court. I refused to judge people by my own standards. I am not materialistic, but it will be too much to expect all Nigerians to be the same way. It is not fair to condemn anybody, but it is up to them and their conscience. I want to continue to conduct myself with a clear conscience so that when I go to bed, I sleep off immediately,” the former president said in the book.