Buhari rebuffs APC governors’ bid to delay currency rebrand
A team of four governors of the ruling APC and their presidential candidate appear to have failed in their bid to persuade President Muhammadu Buhari to significantly alter the timelines for the on-going replacement of three sets of the national currency, the Naira.
The governors including those from Katsina, Plateau and Kebbi and joined by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, their party’s presidential candidate traveled to Daura to meet the president last week. Their primary objective was to persuade the president to move the deadline for the replacement of the N1000, N500 and N200 notes till after the election.
The meeting with Buhari became crucial after an initial gathering between CBN governor Godwin Emefiele and the governors’ forum earlier in the week was told that only the president could shift the currency replacement deadline sought by the governors.
BusinessDay learnt that at the meeting with Buhari, the governors and their presidential candidate canvassed a lengthy delay in the currency rebranding timelines. Buhari who thereafter promised the governors and Tinubu that he will have a discussion with Emefiele, then proceeded to have a private meeting with only Tinubu.
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However, the next day, it became apparent that the plot had failed when a presidential statement made it clear that there would be no turning back on the currency replacement and the resolve to reduce the cash in circulation. However, in difference to the governors, the president only approved a delay of the currency replacement deadline by ten days.
Our reporters learnt that the presidential campaign councils, PCC of the major parties are feeling the heat as they have all run out of cash for campaigning. For one of the leading parties, BusinessDay learnt that its PCC has not been properly funded for the last two weeks.
According to one party chief, “there is no money anywhere, and people have been using their own money for the campaigns. Others are deserting the campaigns. We have a big problem on our hands. I have never seen anything like this before, he added.
“When campaigns start, you expect that the purse will be opened. The purse is not open. It is what it is. This is a new republic,” one senior official of another party told our reporter in Abuja.
While Tinubu said in Abeokuta last week that the fuel shortage and the currency rebrand were deliberate ploys by powerful forces within his own APC to weaken him, other non-partisans say Buhari is just seeking to do the right thing.
According to one source, “we cannot as a nation wait till after the election to do this. While we can see the anti-Tinubu side to this, because we always personalize things in Nigeria, at the same time, as a nation we must at some point have to the courage to take money out of elections in Nigeria by doing the right thing. Let people go and do the right thing with their money.”