The Governor of a Nigerian state, Kaduna, Mallam Nasir El-Rufal, has made nonsense of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, disregarding his order and rubbished whatever could have been any wisdom of the presidential broadcast delivered early on Thursday by the president on the Naira redesigned.
The president had in his broadcast directed the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make only the old N200 available for Nigerians to be spending alongside the new notes, while the N500 and N1000 cease to be legal tender from 10 February.
But in his statewide broadcast to the people of Kaduna few hours later, El-Rufai said his people should disregard what the president said, as Buhari was talking to the people in other states of the federation.
“On behalf of the Kaduna State Government, I wish to assure you that none of you would lose the money you have in old notes. Let no artificial and illegal deadline frighten you. Whether you live in towns, villages or in our isolated rural communities, do not feel stampeded to deposit your old notes in the banks. Hold on to them. Continue to use them as legal tender as ordered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. No deadline can render them worthless, ever. The law is on your side. The Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 and the Bills of Exchange Act, both oblige the CBN to recognise your old notes and give you value in new notes whenever you bring them to the CBN, even in the next 100 years.
“Therefore, as your governor, I wish to assure you that the Kaduna State Government, in collaboration with elected legislators, traditional institution, elected local government councils, markets, and traders’ associations will help you collect, record, document, collate and deliver all your old notes to the Kaduna branch of the Central Bank on your behalf into the new ones immediately after the elections. We will also ensure the delivery of your new notes to your various locations without any hardship or expense on your part. We shall save you any panic and the stress of a long journey from your community to the CBN office in our state capital, from March until December 2023 if need be.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all the old and new notes shall remain in use as legal tender in Kaduna State until the Supreme Court of Nigeria decides otherwise. I therefore appeal to all residents of Kaduna State to continue to use the old and new notes side by side without any fear. The Kaduna State Government and its agencies shall seal any facility that refuses to accept the old notes as legal tender and prosecute the owners. If need be, we shall take further consequential actions according to the law.,” he said.
To El-Rufai, the naira redesigned was adopted by those who lost out during the presidential primary of the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and they are bent by all means to engineer the defeat of the party in the forthcoming general election.
“It is important for the people of Kaduna State, and indeed Nigeria, to know that contrary to the public pronouncements and apparent good intentions, this policy was conceived and sold to the President by officials who completely lost out in the Gubernatorial and Presidential Primaries of the APC in June 2022.
“Once Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerged as the candidate in June 2022, and subsequently did not pick one of them as his running mate, this currency redesign policy was conceived to ensure that the APC presidential candidate is deprived of what they alleged is a humongous war chest. They also sought to achieve any one or more of following objectives:
“Create a nationwide shortage of cash so that citizens are incited to vote against APC candidates across the board resulting in massive losses for the Party in all the elections.
“Ensure that the cash crunch is so serious, along with the contrived and enduring fuel shortage existing since September 2022, that the 2023 Elections do not hold at all, leading to an Interim National Government to be led by a retired Army General;
“Sustain the climate of shortage of fuel, food and other necessities, leading to mass protests, violence and breakdown of law and order that would provide a fertile foundation for a military take-over,” he said.