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Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo State, says that violent protests over the lack of new Naira notes could delay the upcoming elections if the problem isn’t fixed.
Oshiomhole, who serves as the Deputy Director General of the Presidential Campaign Council for the All Progressives Congress (APC), referred to the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria as “senseless.” He also stated that it is not the responsibility of the bank to prevent “vote buying.”
He stated this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday.
“If you have riots like you had in Ibadan and Benin – I don’t know anywhere else – and they were taking place simultaneously, and you are now dealing with the issue of protecting lives and properties, will elections become a priority?
“So, in that context, whoever scuttles the elections would have scuttled the chances of the APC winning the election.
“You could see that the intention of the Bank is not to eliminate abuses but to stop the elections from taking place,” Oshiomhole said.
The CBN has set February 10 as the date when the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes will no longer be used. But because of the policy, there aren’t enough new bills for everyone in the country.
Members of the party in power have obviously disagreed with the policy.
Bola Tinubu, the party’s candidate for president, Yemi Osinbajo, the vice president, Nasir El Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, and many others in the party have all said that the policy is flawed.
Last week, some governors from the ruling party went to see Buhari to talk to him about the policy, but the president asked for seven days to answer.
But Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, the presidential candidates for the Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) and the Labour Party, said they agree with the policy. Obi asked the people of Nigeria to be patient with the government.
Last week, when CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele went before an ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives, he said that banks must keep taking the old notes past February 10.
During the interview, Oshiomhole also said that Emefiele had lied about the policy to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“CBN’s naira redesign policy is senseless… CBN deceived Buhari, and the intention behind it was to stop the elections.
“So, I can guess – I was not there – that in obtaining the approval, I believe the CBN deceived the president by amplifying the need to have corruption-free electioneering as if the election is the only project this president has a responsibility for.
“To assume that every Nigerian is corrupt—and that this policy is meant to check corruption… the CBN is not part of the institutions charged with the responsibility of ensuring free, fair and credible elections. That is not in the Act establishing the CBN,” Oshiomhole said.
On February 25, people will vote for the president and the National Assembly. On March 11, people will vote for the governor and the States Assembly.