Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.SAN, on Saturday urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to halt his recent naira policy.
Premium Politics on Thursday reported that Buhari had supported the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to make the old naira notes non-legal tender, while also re-introducing only the old N200 note.
The development has continued to draw mixed reactions from Nigerians as many have taken to protest in some states across the Federation.
Reacting to the development, Akeredolu, in a press statement issued by him on Saturday, urged Buhari to play the role of an elder statement in the nation.
He also stated that the recent development might negatively influence the forth coming general elections scheduled for the 25th of February,2023.
“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 elections.
“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 seize this opportunity to appeal to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, 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.” He stated.
He also urged the presidency whom he said is under the constitution of Nigeria to obey the verdict of the supreme court.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court had affirmed the validity of the use of old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes. The apex court maintained that the February 8 hearing which paused the implementation of the February 10 deadline ban on the use of old naira notes still subsists.
“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.” He added.
Akeredolu also called on the presidency to allow the old naira notes to be made legal tender until normalcy is returned to the nation.
“I call on the President to allow both the old and new notes co-exist until such a time when normalcy returns to the country. It will be a fitting parting gift for the people of this country, especially the downtrodden, who feel the negative impact of the poorly implemented policy.
” While the reasons adduced for the policy appear legitimate, there can be no justification for the confiscation of the lawful earnings of Nigerians. The negative impact which the mediocre and, I dare say, mischievous implementation of the policy by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is having on the poor people and small business owners defeats all the good programmes of the Federal Government designed to elevate as many people as possible out of the morass of poverty.
“There is no shame in rescinding a decision adjudged not only unpopular and counter-productive, but which also bears the insidious seeds of potential conflagration in the land, one of the ostensible reasons for this ill-conceived policy,” he stated.