• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Naira rebound: Under-pressure Cardoso has a burden of sustaining the feat

CBN raises rate for third straight time to 26.25% in defence of naira

Nigerians are always treated to lots of bizarre occurrences. There is no dull moment here. We heard that a tail is wagging the dog in Kano. Former governor of the state, Abdullahi Ganduje, is wondering what some local champions are up to. The immediate past governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, is refusing to go and answer, “Did you or did you not?” The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is saying with every ounce of energy it can muster that the young man is not innocent, but guess what? He is being defended by other government agencies. Chaii! The naira is rebounding. Hurrah! Yet Yemi Cardoso, CBN boss, is under pressure. Find out why, please:

Ganduje and ‘Penkelemesi’ in Kano

A few days ago, news broke that Abdullahi Ganduje, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was suspended by members of his ward, the Ganduje Ward, in the Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area of Kano State.

The suspension bordered on various allegations of malfeasance. Ganduje is not new to such things because a lot of stories have swirled around him in the past on that same score, which is why the jaws of many Nigerians dropped when he was announced as the APC national chairman.

“If these are commendable, some critics see the measures as artificial and unsustainable. They believe Abuja is just pulling a stunt as May 29 is fast approaching; to brandish the same as the major achievement of the administration and garner plaudits.”

But the question many people asked as they heard and read about the suspension from the ward was if “a tail was now wagging the dog” and not the other way around?

They could not fathom that a missile from such “unknown quantities”—local champions (at best)—could have a devastating effect on Ganduje, a political juggernaut, almost in the same deadly manner that a stone from David’s catapult had on one Mr. Goliath.

Who would have imagined that a ward in a sleepy council in Kano State could constitute an impediment to the burgeoning career of Ganduje?

Well, it is not new. All politics are local. That is why every politician is required to register in his or her ward. It is the people at this level that initiate a recall of their representatives in the event that such representatives are found wanting. It has happened so many times in Nigeria.

Last year, Julius Abure, national chairman of the Labour Party (LP), was suspended by some members of his Ward 3 executive in Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State.

But an Edo State High Court presided over by Justice Emmanuel Okey Aihamoje dismissed the notice of suspension issued against Abure.

So, it can safely be said that Ganduje’s case is a “Penkelemesi,” an expression authored by Adegoke Adelabu of blessed memory.

“Penkelemesi,” a Yorubanization of the phrase “peculiar mess,” which Adelabu, known for his deep knowledge of English, had used on an occasion to describe the opposition in the Western Region House of Assembly. Not understanding what he meant, the non-literate section of his audience translated the phrase into vernacular as “Penkelemesi.”

The Kano High Court had said Ganduje would, on April 17, 2024, be arraigned on charges bordering on allegations of bribery, diversion, and misappropriation of funds, including the purported acceptance of $413,000 and N1.38bn in bribes.

The Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Haruna Dederi, had said that Ganduje would be arraigned alongside his wife and six others.

Fingers crossed, and the question is, “Are we likely to have ‘A Daniel come to judgement’ in Kano?

Naira rebound: Under pressure Cardoso has the burden of sustaining the feat.

Nigerians are clapping with one hand right now as Yemi Cardoso, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), battles to steady the naira.

Nigerians are watching with scepticism as the naira firms up stronger. The naira has continued to appreciate in the official and parallel markets. At the time of going to bed, the naira hit a seven-month high of 1,000 per US dollar on the black market.

The Federal Government, through the Central Bank, is making serious efforts to boost the economy.

The CBN has employed some measures to achieve this feat. They include selling dollars to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators, implementing a number of policies, and tampering with interest rates.

Cardoso has been under pressure to steady the naira. That seems to be the major assignment he is being saddled with at the moment.

An analyst who hailed the positive development said: “We now have foreign portfolio investments (FPIs) showing interest in Nigeria and have seen the forex backlog cleared by the CBN. Also, we have high interest rates, making it harder to source naira to buy the dollars. All of these have contributed largely to the naira’s appreciation.”

If these are commendable, some critics see the measures as artificial and unsustainable. They believe Abuja is just pulling a stunt, as May 29 is fast approaching, to brandish the same as the major achievement of the administration and garner plaudits.

An analyst said: “If the CBN is not honest about what it is doing, it is only a matter of time before this pressure is met. Given how poorly the balance on our reserves is, intervention through BDCs is at present more show than substance.”

What is actually happening is that Nigeria is defending the naira with all the foreign reserves.

“Inflation is now at 33 percent, because throwing out all the dollars you have to make people sell theirs in panic (increasing the dollar in circulation and forcing prices down, which is a basic economic principle), is not sustainable and won’t affect the real prices of consumables.”

On a very serious note, the government must be intentional and come clean about what is going on. If other areas that should be strengthened to contribute to the great performance of the naira are neglected, we will find out very soon that it is all a smokescreen.

The questions are: Is Nigeria exporting more products now than before? Have farmers gone back to their farms? The country is waiting.

Is Yahaya Bello still enjoying immunity?

The last time I checked, Yahaya Bello was a former governor of Kogi State. And I strongly believe he remains so since he bowed out on January 24th of this year. While he was in office as governor for eight years, he enjoyed immunity, and all he did while in that office was above the law.

Now, as an ordinary citizen like any other, he is supposed to face the law if any agency of government has any reason to believe he has some questions to answer.

While in office, Bello carried on as if two terms were eternity. He was reminded on several occasions that his yesterday would be taken into account, but he never listened. He never cared.

The drama that took place yesterday at his residence reminded all doubting Thomases that Nigeria has sunken so deeply into impunity and hopelessness.

Nigerians watched in horror as different agencies of one government that were supposed to be working towards one goal were pitted against one another over a man that one of the agencies believes has a trailer-load of questions to answer.

Policemen and some armed men dressed in black with the inscription “Special Forces” were said to have prevented the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting Bello from his Abuja residence.

But the “big man” was protected from being moved, perhaps because of an order from “above.”

The High Court of Justice, Lokoja Division, was said to have on February 9, 2024, granted an order of injunction restraining the EFCC either by itself or its agents from harassing, arresting, detaining, or prosecuting him, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive fundamental rights enforcement action.

In other crimes, past presidents are being jailed; past governors go to jail, and nobody raises an eyebrow.

That is how those societies managed to get their institutions working, and everything is working fine. Our “big men” will go there and savour the beauty of reasonable governance and organised society, only to return to Nigeria to foul the air and perpetuate a primitive mindset and lifestyle.

Why would a court restrain agencies of government from investigating a former governor, even if it is only to ask him, “Did you, or did you not?” There is an aphorism that says, “A clear conscience fears no accusation.” It would seem that there is more than meets the eye in the “Kurukere” moves of the former governor.

This overprotection by government agencies of certain individuals considered “untouchable” has destroyed the country. No wonder everyone is running, because there is fire on the mountain. Concerned citizens are looking for a breath of fresh air, hence the increasing wave of the ‘japa’ syndrome.