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February 8, 2023

Naira scarcity: Tinubu, Atiku at daggers-drawn


…Opposition plotting to use petrol, naira scarcity to scuttle polls — Tinubu

…Tinubu hoarding new notes to punish Nigerians — Atiku

…Opposition working against efforts to reduce new notes pains —Lai Mohammed

…New notes policy frustrating vote-buyers—Diri

By Soni Daniel,  Omeiza Ajayi &  John Alechenu, ABUJA

The attacks and counter-attacks between the presidential candidate of ruling All progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his rivals, especially Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over the fuel and new banknotes scarcity are yet to abate.

Yesterday, Tinubu claimed that the opposition was plotting to use the petrol and new naira scarcity to scuttle the forthcoming general elections.

Also,  the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, accused opposition parties of stifling the Federal Government’s efforts to reduce the pains caused by the cash swap policy.

In a counter, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar accused Tinubu of hoarding the new Naira notes in order to inflict pains on Nigerians, just as Bayelsa State governor, Senator Douye Diri, said Naira redesign policy had brought Holy Ghost fire on vote-buyers.

Plot to scuttle polls with petrol, naira scarcity

Speaking in Abuja, Tinubu said the opposition is plotting to use the petrol and naira scarcity to scuttle the elections and urged Nigerians to resist the plots and protect the country’s democracy.

He said: “This is a challenging period in the life of our country when our people are made to stay on the line for hours to get fuel and even get their own money from the banks.

“I empathize with Nigerians across the country, especially the poor masses, who have been made to bear the brunt and pains of the CBN naira policy and fuel scarcity the most.

“While the government continues to work to solve these problems, let’s stay calm, maintain the peace and continue to shun and avoid any act capable of causing civil unrest and disharmony.

“What the opposition and enemies of democracy want is to create a state of national siege and tension that can disrupt the coming general election and create an atmosphere of strife in our country.

“We must say no to them. We must be resolute and stand firm to protect our democracy by ensuring we hold our elections in a peaceful and orderly manner. I am in this race to bring renewed hope and prosperity to all Nigerians.

“There are no challenges that will be difficult for us as a people to surmount when we stand in unity of purpose.”

Tinubu said if elected, he would work to bring economic prosperity and national unity that would be a source of joy to all Nigerians.

Opposition frustrating efforts to reduce new currency pains —Lai Mohammed

In like manner, Alhaji Lai Mohammed at a briefing in Abuja, said the opposition parties are stifling the efforts of the Federal Government to reduce the pains caused by the cash swap policy.

Drawing the attention of Nigerians to court orders seeking to stop the government from doing anything about the February 10 deadline for currency swap, Mohammed said: “Let me use this opportunity to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government is mindful of the inconveniences currently being endured by citizens as a result of fuel supply disruptions and the recent redesigning of some Naira notes.

“Government is working assiduously to restore normalcy to these critical enablers of economic activity and to take added measures, where necessary, to alleviate the pains of Nigerians.

“Recall that after his meeting with Progressives’ Governors on Friday, President Buhari urged citizens to give him a seven-day window to resolve the currency crunch that has emanated from the implementation of the Naira redesign policy.

“Unfortunately, on Monday, some opposition political parties ran to court to obtain an injunction restraining Mr President and the CBN from extending the February 10 deadline for Nigerians to exchange their old notes for new ones.

‘’The court action came after a number of opposition parties threatened to boycott the 2023 general elections if the deadline was extended.

“These curious actions by the parties concerned are clear evidence that the opposition has turned this whole issue into a political game, preferring to make Nigerians suffer more on the altar of unconscionable political gamesmanship.

“Or how else can one explain the fact that these unscrupulous opposition parties do not want any action that could reduce the pains being experienced by Nigerians?

“How else can one explain the fact that they have decided to legally hamstring Mr President, in particular, from providing any relief for Nigerians suffering from the cash crunch? It is bad politics when you put the interest of desperate political parties over and above that of Nigerians, the same Nigerians whose votes you earnestly seek.

“One thing is sure though: the desperate actions will not save these sinking political parties as voters have already seen that they are the real enemies of the people and not President Muhammadu Buhari or the All Progressive Congress, APC. And despite the antics of the opposition, rest assured, that the government is willing and able to take decisive steps to bring succour to Nigerians in the shortest possible time.

Tinubu hoarding new notes to punish Nigerians —Atiku

However, the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, yesterday accused Tinubu of hoarding the new naira notes in order to inflict unimaginable pain on Nigerians.

It alleged that the APC candidate is uncaring about the suffering of fellow citizens and was mopping up the redesigned notes for the sole purpose of vote-buying.

In a statement, the spokesman of the Atiku-Okowa Campaign, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “The campaign stands with Nigerians in calling on Tinubu and his co-travellers in the APC to end the criminal activities of intercepting and hoarding the new notes, for their vote-buying plots, not minding the excruciating hardship their sinister action is causing millions of Nigerians across the country.

“Our campaign is alarmed by the exposed plot by Tinubu Campaign and some APC Governors to secretly swap a whopping N22.5 billion in old N1,000 for new notes in Kano as well as Lagos State where they will be warehoused for vote-buying for the deflated Tinubu campaign.

“The Tinubu Campaign is desperate to mop up new Naira notes by swapping them with their ill-gotten old notes stashed away in secret vaults, because, having been rejected by Nigerians, they had relied solely on vote-buying, financial inducements and heavy bribing to compromise and derail the electoral process.

“Our campaign is disturbed by the harrowing experiences being faced by Nigerians who are at the receiving end of the Tinubu Campaign-induced cash scarcity ravaging our nation at this time.

“More disgusting is that the Tinubu Campaign has disgracefully resorted to hypocritical propaganda, shedding crocodile tears, pointing accusing fingers at others and posturing as champions of the people, when they are the real enemies of Nigerians.

“The Tinubu Campaign, in its fear of the looming failures at the February 25 polls, has turned out like a desperate ferocious wolf seeking to devour the people while at the same time trying to cloak itself in the innocent skin of sheep.

“It is, however, devastating to see Nigerians sleeping in the cold at ATM centres, assaulted by the elements of nature, fighting one another in banking halls and ATM stalls in the struggle to get some little cash just because the Tinubu Campaign and corrupt APC leaders had diverted the new notes for their selfish political reasons.

“We find it disheartening that Tinubu and his allies are taking Nigerians from APC-induced seven years of weaponized hunger to a wholesome poverty by triggering this unbearable cash scarcity that has wrecked small businesses, destabilized homes and sunk millions of Nigerians into a deeper financial abyss.”

The PDP Campaign noted that Nigerians have been forced to face a worse situation than the COVID-19 experience just because Tinubu is hoarding the new Naira notes to manipulate the 2023 presidential election.

It advised Tinubu to “lift his knees from the neck of Nigerians” by ending his new Naira notes hoarding activities so that the new notes can freely flow to Nigerians to run their daily lives.

The Atiku-Okowa Campaign however urged Nigerians not to succumb to Tinubu’s design but to remain steadfast in their determination to resist him and free Nigerians from the shackles of oppressors by voting in Atiku Abubakar as the next President of Nigeria so that he can commence the work of rebuilding our nation for the good of all.

Naira redesign policy brought Holy Ghost fire on vote buyers says Diri

Indeed, Governor Diri of Bayelsa State said the currency redesign policy of the CBN had “brought the Holy Ghost fire” on those preparing bullion vans to buy votes.

He stated this at the campaign flag-off for Sunday Katung, candidate for Kaduna South senatorial district in Zonkwa, headquarters of Zangon Kataf LGA.

Diri said although he is not in support of the hardship Nigerians had been subjected to as a result of the naira redesign policy, the policy would change the attitude of Nigerian leaders.

He pleaded with the CBN to ensure that the people do not suffer by making the new naira notes available.

“We have to reset this country. The way the country is going is not about religion and ethnicity. It is about a few people who have taken the wealth of this country to themselves,” he said.

“While we are not in support of the common man suffering as a result of the sudden CBN policy, the policy will change not only our currency but also our attitude towards everything as leaders.

“While we plead with the CBN to ensure that our people do not suffer, on the other side, those of them who have bullion vans, who are prepared to use bullion vans and buy over the presidency, we say the Holy Ghost fire will go onto them.

“The CBN policy is Holy Ghost fire on them. That is why they are shouting. Why are they shouting as if it affects them more than us?

“All that CBN is saying is that nobody who does not earn money should have money in bullion vans to go and buy over our voters. That’s all the CBN has said and we support that policy. However, make the money available to those who have earned this money through their farms, trading and their professional business.

“That’s all we are saying. That’s our concern. For us in PDP, we believe that Nigeria is going down and it must be rescued and recovered.”

Diri said the only way the country can be rescued and recovered is to vote for Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP.