By John Alechenu, Abuja
Opposition political parties have enjoined the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emeifele not to bow to pressure from desperate politicians who were pushing for a shift in the date for the swap of old Naira notes with the newly redesigned currency.
The Peoples Democratic Party, the Labour Party and the Zenith Labour Party, expressed these views in separate interviews, in Abuja, on Friday.
Mr Phrank Shaibu, the spokesperson for the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, said it was obvious that the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, was the worst hit by the CBN policy because his politics has always revolved around the use of money.
Shaibu said, “Tinubu is obviously frustrated by his inability to stop the cashless policy and currency redesign of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that will curb vote buying and enhance the credibility of next month’s election, he has begun crying over his imminent defeat.
“Even though the CBN policy affects all 18 political parties, APC is the only one frustrated because their plan to deploy bullion vans and bribe poor voters and security agents on the day of election has failed woefully.”
He recalled that on the eve of the 2019 Presidential election, two cash-laden bullion vans were pictured entering Tinubu’s premises located on 26 Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi. Several petitions were written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but nothing has been heard of the matter ever since.”
Speaking in a similar vein, the Presidential Candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, described the CBN Naira redesign policy as a patriotic decision which should be supported by all.
He said, “I want to use this opportunity to call on Godwin Emefiele, governor of the central bank, not to succumb or listen to anybody from anywhere suggesting that there should be an extension for the return of the old note back to the bank.
“His name will be written in gold if he gets this thing done. And on the part of the President, his mantra failed Nigerians and he has come up to tell Nigerians that he will ensure free and fair elections.
“I want to say that the decision taken by the central bank of Nigeria and with the approval by President Buhari is the best for this nation.
“It is a patriotic decision taken by CBN as it relates to the new banknote and the time stipulated for the removal of the old note.”
He further said, “We have been in this country and people given the responsibility to serve, go there to help themselves.
“They steal the money and put it to personal use. They don’t use it to even develop their environment.
“They stack the money at home, in septic tanks, in the farm, and some of these funds have been there for more than ten, fifteen years, idling away. So why do you steal what you do not need?
“So, the CBN had to put on its thinking cap.
“Those categories of naira notes, if not returned before the date stipulated by CBN would become toilet paper.
“That is, will be of no use. Now people are afraid to take these notes to the banks for fear of being identified.
“Billions and millions of naira notes are still in the homes of some people. It is either they take the courage to bring it to the banks or by the end of next week, they become toilet paper. “This is one way to ensure free and fair elections by making we politicians not have access to money to buy votes.
“So, whether they are National Assembly members or anybody whatsoever, who is opposed to this is very unpatriotic.
“Must you carry cash in all your transaction? Go and do the transfer? Let us not cry, we have been enduring for seven and half years.
“This money will get back into circulation, immediately after the election, and I suspect CBN will release a little so that Nigeria will have some money in their hands. Those crying are crying because they want money to go and buy votes.
“Emefiele, don’t succumb, you have the support of most Nigerians, over 95 per cent of Nigerians are behind you in this regard.”
Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Dr Yunusa Tanko said, “We are not surprised that those at the forefront of cash and carry politics, who are used to deploying bullion vans for election purposes are the ones complaining about this laudable government policy targeted at curbing inflation.
“Look at the inflation figures today, inflation numbers are coming down. The CBN must not back down, the bank should insist on the January 31st date to prevent a situation where those who have stashed billions in their closet with the aim of buying votes will be denied that opportunity. “
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