According to the Daily Trust Newspaper, the unofficial mouth piece for the politics of the northern part of Nigeria. The naira re-design is the worst idea ever in Nigeria’s history of monetary policies. If anyone gained from the ‘punishment’ called naira re-design policy, it must be Godwin Emefiele, the small-minded CBN Governor.
A policy, which ought to be in the interest of Nigerians was mismanaged and turned against people’s wellbeing. The Central Bank of Nigeria acting on the instructions of the then President Muhammadu Buhari damaged the fragile economy and subjected Nigerians to hardship unwarranted. Working with the banks they under developed the economy.
The naira redesign policy which marked the lowest ebb of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari have been described as a smart policy that helped curb election related corruption and violence by the president’s own media advisor, Femi Adesina.
All cries from the adversities suffered by Nigerians in the name of the naira swap policy fell on deaf ears of President Buhari and Governor Emefiele.
Suffering by Nigerians 2.0.
Patients and pregnant women died due to scarcity of cash to pay for medical services. Patients were rejected by hospitals just because the traditional upfront payment was not made.
Families starved, school boys and girls missed lessons and examinations; all for the same reason of denying people of the right to their legitimate earnings. This naira re-design is the worst idea ever in Nigeria’s history of monetary policies.
Emefiele said at that time that the currency swap had achieved more than 75 percent success rate of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system; with evident drop in rate of inflation, more stability of foreign exchange rates, and noticeable impact on security, especially in banditry and kidnapping figures.
Emefiele’s claims are questionable and his assertion, for example, on the drop in inflation rate, is not true. The National Bureau of Statistics announced said that the nation’s inflation rate rose in February 2023 to 21.91 percent, which dwarfed the 21.82 percent recorded in January 2023. The naira swap policy rather triggered inflation because Nigeria’s economic woes during this period were largely caused by artificial indices, which is why the country’s economic challenges have continued, over time, to defy the application of nearly every model of fiscal solution.
Also, the cynical plot to use the policy to prevent vote-buying in the 2023 elections rather succeeded in inspiring politicians to devise other means of buying votes. The claims and counter-claims by some presidential candidates in the countdown to the February 25, 2023 elections lent credence to public insinuation that the policy was actually borne out of malice to frustrate and cause electoral disaster to perceived opposition(s). The welfare of the people is supposed to be paramount but not under Emefiele and Buhari.
The Femi Adesina Perspective:
Femi Adesina, stated recently that the ex-President regretted some of the decisions he made while in office and believed he could have handled some things better.
Such is typical for every human being, according to Adesina who has worked in the news room of Radio Lagos , Vanguard , Concord and the Sun, spoke in Osogbo on Wednesday 20 September 2023. The ex-presidential spokesman was a guest at a programme tagged ‘Media Dialogue with Femi Adesina’ organized by the Association of Veteran Journalists in Osun State.
Two hours with the Commander in Chief:
Adesina said “Before we left office, I sat with him for about two hours and I asked him every question under the sun; there was no question I didn’t ask him. There were things he (Buhari) felt could have been done better,” said the Obafemi Awolowo University and Lagos Business School trained Communication Specialist.
He, however, defended Buhari’s controversial naira redesign policy, saying it was for the good of the nation. Said Adesina “You will recall that even during that time, there was no kidnapping. I remember some people went to kidnap an APC chairman or his it secretary in Kano. After holding him for three days and nobody was calling to ask how much they will collect because there was no cash, they just slapped him three times and told him to go.
“Even kidnappers were out of business because there was no naira and do you know that we have a cleaner election because of that policy Adesina argued. “Nine serving governors couldn’t go to the Senate. They contested but lost because there was no money to spread around, they couldn’t win. The policy was not bad in its entirety. There were issues with it but it was not bad in its entirety,” Adesina said.
We can draw some Insightful conclusion from Adesina’s interview with the veterans.
First , cutting the financial and credit lines to terrorist is a simple solution to bringing the situation under control. With Biometric Verification Number (BVN) and Nigerian Uniform Bank Account Number a standardized 10-digit code that’s used to identify specific bank accounts in Nigeria terrorist can be tamed and controlled if not eliminated.
Second, the presidency is in the know of politics of money in Nigeria. We can recall that the former President Mohammadu Buhari could not afford the millions of naira to pick up the All Progressive Party nomination form but stakeholders swiftly stepped in to help him. Is that corruption? Is such a payment legal ? Does this type donation impact policy? Many questions with obvious but unspeakable answers.
Third , Adesina’s interview confirms the existence of a kitchen cabinet that takes decision for their own narrow agenda and not for the interest of the Nigerian polity.
Four ,according to Vladimir Putin, bureaucracy runs government and political party manifesto are worthless papers hence government should have a clear purpose and be decisive in its actions instead of allowing bureaucrats turn things on their head.
Michael Umogun is a Chartered Marketer with interest in public policy