The National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and governors elected on the party’s platform have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to obey the Supreme Court’s interim injunction on the naira redesign project, saying the policy and its implementation are causing tremendous difficulties to citizens and the national economy.
National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdulahi Adamu, in a resolution read on Sunday at the end of an emergency meeting of the party, urged the president to intervene in resolving the issues, which he said were causing great problems for the economy.
Adamu had called the meeting to intervene in the current face-off between governors elected on the platform of the party and the president.
Buhari had in October 2022 authorised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the N1000, N500, N200 notes, with a 100-day grace period given to Nigerians to change the old notes to the new notes.
However, the presidential candidate of the party, Bola Tinubu, during the presidential campaign rally in Abeokuta, said the lingering petroleum scarcity and the naira redesign project were targeted at truncating his electoral victory.
Subsequently, the governments of Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara filed an application before the Supreme Court by invoking the original jurisdiction of the court to stop the federal government from banning the old notes.
It was against this background that the Supreme Court temporarily restrained the federal government, via an ex parte order, from banning the use of the old naira notes from the February 10, 2023 the central bank had fixed.
But rather than stay action, Buhari in a nationwide broadcast last Thursday, directed the apex bank to recirculate only the old N200 notes to ease the hardship on Nigerians.
Dissatisfied with the president’s decision, the APC governors said his actions would cost the ruling party the forthcoming elections.
The president’s directive, however, did not stop frustrated Nigerians from attacking banks, as the cash crunch bit harder.
To try to calm frayed nerves and ensure that the party remained united ahead of the weekend elections, Adamu called the emergency meeting.
The meeting, which started about 2:35pm ended at about 6:35 pm. It had in attendance the following APC governors: Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; Mohammed Bello (Niger); Abdulahi Sule (Nasarwa); Yahaya Bello (Kogi); Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe); Bello Matawalle (Zamfara); Mai Mala Buni (Yobe); Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Biodun Oyebanji (Ekiti); and Simon Lalong (Plateau). Others were Deputy Governor of Imo State, Placid Njoku, and Deputy Governor of Katsina State, Mohammed Yakubu.
In his opening remarks, before journalists were asked to step out, Adamu said, “I found it necessary to invite these governors in Nigeria, who were elected to the platform of our great party the APC.
“I am happy with the response so far and it is my understanding that more of our members are still on their way coming.
“You would recall the recent developments that have necessitated this invitation. We do not want to sit in judgement over anybody with regard to where we are today in the country as it affects our great party.”
The APC national chairman added, “I thought the best thing to do is to get all those who are holding forth in their respective positions and who were elected on the platform of the party to get together and have some interaction so that we can have a better understanding of what situation we are in. That is the essence of this invitation.”
After more than three hours of the meeting behind closed doors, Tinubu arrived at the party secretariat at 5:18pm.
It was not clear whether he was at the NWC hall where the meeting was held.
While reading the resolution of the meeting, Adamu described Tinubu’s visit as normal as the candidate of the party.
He stated, “I’m sure you are quite aware of the fact that a meeting comprising APC governors was held today and the leadership of the NWC of our great party was summoned for this afternoon and we had discussion.
“And at the end of the discussion, we have resolved as follows and this resolution is without prejudice or whatsoever to the case that is lying at the Supreme Court at this point in time. This has to do with the issue of currency redesign.
“We note very seriously that the programme and its implementation is causing tremendous difficulties to the people of Nigeria and to the national economy.
“That we urge the Attorney General of the Federation, (Abubakar Malami) and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to respect the Supreme Court order of Interim injunction, which is still subsisting
“That the meeting is urging his Excellency, Mr. President, to intervene in resolving issues that are causing these great difficulties to the economy.”
Asked if the governors and the party were now on the same page, Adamu answered in the affirmative, saying the governors’ forum and the NWC are together on the currency issue.
Chairman of APC Governors’ Forum and the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said the governors and the party were one and the same, adding that they are proud of the campaign by the party’s presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, appealed to the CBN to allow commercial banks partake in the collection of the old naira notes of N500 and N1000. He also said the CBN policy on the new naira design was hurting innocent Nigerians.
In his verified Twitter handle, the former vice president said, “The CBN currency policy is hurting ordinary citizens and those who legitimately earned their money. The apex bank should, as a matter of urgency, allow commercial banks to join the CBN in the collection of the deposits of old N500 and N1000 notes.
“The new currency should be immediately made available in sufficient quantities to alleviate the suffering of the masses. I assure you that when we come to power by the mandate of your votes, the PDP administration will not allow any Nigerian who legitimately earned their money to lose a single kobo of it.
“You can take that promise to the bank because our aim is to create prosperity and not to impoverish our people.”
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja