February 7, 2023

Let’s protest only with our votes

THE Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, last week joined the growing voices of well-meaning Nigerians who foresee the overriding benefits of the Naira redesign and cashless policy. The minister explained that the pains citizens are passing through now due to the policy are unfortunately the prices we have to pay for the long-term health of the economy.

The minister’s position, however, is in sharp contrast with those of either uninformed persons, or people with entrenched interests who have been calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to resign immediately. One of those persons was quoted by the media as saying: “I make bold to state that unless this oppressive directive is withdrawn within the next 48 hours, Nigerian masses will have no choice than to rise and compel government to take positive action to reverse it.”

As the CBN Governor has advised Nigerians, “those holding protests should not allow themselves to be used” to truncate the policy. The Governor begged Nigerians to show understanding and accept to join the queues at the banks. It is unfortunate that those with vested interests calling for revolution now and inciting people to protest have never, in the past seven years of bloodshed in Nigeria, called for any protest or revolution, obviously because they were benefiting from the rotten system. They sabotaged the EndSARS protest – the biggest spontaneous youth protest ever in the history of Nigeria, against police brutality.

It is now that President Muhammadu Buhari has changed his mind and is determined to do the right thing by giving Nigerians a free and fair election that false revolutionaries are emerging, trying to deceive gullible persons into protesting against the good cashless policy of the CBN and the Federal Government.

We urge all Nigerians to ignore any call for any protest at this time on account of the Naira redesign and cashless economy policy. They claim to be fighting for the Nigerian poor masses, but that is not true. Those people have never fought for the poor masses; they are only fighting for their pockets. Their desperation is borne out of the fact that the old Naira notes they and their principals still have stashed in warehouses and other hidden places will soon become worthless pieces of printed paper. Nigerians should be careful to avoid participating in any act capable of derailing the 2023 general elections which almost everyone sees as holding the keys to turning around the fortunes of all Nigerians, if the electorate gets it right.

We stand on the decision taken by the Nigeria Labour Congress, which said last week that it will not call out workers to protest the ongoing fuel crisis across the country, but challenged Nigerians to use their Permanent Voter’s Cards to choose a responsive government that will make life more meaningful for them. If there is any protest or revolution Nigerians need to carry out between this February and March, it is the revolution with their votes on election day.