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Reverse Naira Redesign Policy, Ondo Governor Akeredolu Appeals To Buhari

The Chairman of Southern Governors Forum said it was unpopular, fruitless and counter-productive.

Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has called on  President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse his decision on the old naira notes in order to calm down the crisis across the country.

Akeredolu, who made the call in a statement issued on Saturday entitled, ‘Mr President should halt this seamless drift,’ faulted the declaration of the President that the old N1000 and N500 notes are no more legal tender.

According to the Chairman of Southern Governors Forum, there was a need for president to rescind the controversial naira policy, as he said it was unpopular, fruitless and counter-productive.

While noting that there is a subsisting order of the Supreme Court on the matter and the crisis it was causing across the country few days the general election, he said those who advised the president in that regard were mischievous.

Akeredolu therefore called on the President to allow both the old and new notes co-exist until such a time when normalcy returns to the country, and as well save the nation from drift and anarchy by obeying the Supreme Court ruling on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s policy on Naira redesign and swap.

He added that there was no shame in rescinding a decision which also bore the insidious seeds of potential conflagration in the land, one of the ostensible reasons for this ill-conceived policy.

The statement read in part: “The crises engendered by the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to redesign some currency notes, threaten to disrupt, not only the forthcoming general election. The events of the past days, culminating in the intervention of the apex court in the land, and the increasing gale of violence sweeping through the country, portend serious danger to the current democratic governance. Consequently, this period invites all patriots to speak out with a view to proffering practicable solutions and not project cheap partisan interests. I use this opportunity to appeal to the President to play the role of a statesman at this crucial moment. It is apparent that the crises, which the current policy on currency swap has created, continue to spiral menacingly.

“There is incontrovertible evidence bordering on miscalculation, error of judgement and/or disinformation on the part of the policy makers, especially the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on the failed implementation of the policy, the effect of which compels the whole country to groan, immeasurably, at present. There is hardly anyone who contends with either the statutory functions of the Central Bank of Nigeria or the occupier of the office of its Governor, one of which is the monetary policy. It is also not debatable that the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is empowered, under our law, to exercise certain executive power. It can, however, not be the original intendment of the drafters of the relevant statutes that the implementation of any policy should occasion widespread hardship and pervasive agony in the land.

“The safety of the people is the supreme law. Any measure, purportedly designed to ameliorate their conditions, must not reduce the entire populace to a beggarly existence. There is pervasive discontent in the land. A policy, presented as currency swap, must not be construed by both the reasonable members and people of average intelligence in the society to convey the deplorable impression of contrived subterfuge manifest in the official confiscation of legitimate deposits of the people in banks, as a counter measure against electoral malfeasance, terrorism and banditry.

“Desirable as the policy appears to be, its implementation excites curiosity as regards the real motive of its drivers, especially at this time when the conduct of general elections is almost here. The mere knowledge that the N1000 and N500 notes represented 82% of the currency in circulation and that the N200 note, whose validity has been extended, by fiat, for another 60 days, represented seven percent, expose the mendacious slant in the advice given to Mr President. This counsel clearly misrepresented, deliberately, the facts as they existed before the commencement of the implementation of the policy. The implementation of this policy has been woeful despite claims to the contrary.”

Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja