Naira redesign: Policy affects politicians, vote buyers more than masses — Ozekhome

Mike Ozekhome, a professor of law and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said on Wednesday that the naira redesign policy generating so much public attention has affected the political elites and their vote-buying cronies more than the ordinary masses.

Ozekhome noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s naira swap policy, which is expected to end on Friday, February 10, has not affected the masses as much as it has the political class.

He made this view as a guest on Channels TV’s “The 2023 Verdict, a programme that has interviewed a number of important personalities to get their opinion on important issues affecting the country, especially as we head towards the February 25 election.

“It affects politicians and vote buyers more than ordinary citizens,” Ozekhome said, when asked about the recent Supreme Court ruling and what he thought about the responses from some of the members of the political elite.

“Because a voter usually registers near his or her home—in some isolated cases, they have registered at a location far from their homes. But the people that would be most hit by this policy are the politicians—at times using the ordinary man and woman as surrogates to protest and barricade roads so as to show how bad the policy is because they no longer have access to cheap money,” he said.

“Many of these politicians you are talking about actually own the banks,” he added, providing an intimate conversation he had with a close friend of his who inquired to know how bad this naira redesign policy was going to affect the political elite.

He presented a scenario widely debated in public whereby most of the new naira notes are first prioritised for senior executives of the banks and their cronies.

“Nigeria has been captured by known non-state actors, by the elites, by rich individuals,” he noted. “There are some individuals that are now richer than Nigeria on our N21 trillion budget.”

He complained about the dire situation the country is in now, especially as deficit financing keeps piling up the national debt burden.

“We are in trouble, make no mistake about that,” he said even louder.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the CBN to continue accepting the old naira notes even after its deadline of February 10 has elapsed.



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