Adams Oshiomhole, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari was deceived into approving the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
While speaking on a political programme on the Channels Television on Sunday night, Oshiomhole, a senatorial candidate on the platform of the APC, claimed that the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, took advantage of the president’s zero tolerance for corruption to convince him to approve the policy.
Oshiomhole who was reacting to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State’s comment on forces working against the APC in the forthcoming general elections said the policy was designed to truncate the general election slated for February and March 2023.
He said: “CBN’s naira redesign policy is senseless… CBN deceived Buhari and the intention behind it was to stop the elections.
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“Having worked as a chairman [of APC] which enabled me to work directly with the president, I know the trick that the CBN played.
“We have a president who has told the world that if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. So, I can guess that in obtaining the approval that the president said he gave, I believe the CBN deceived the president by amplifying the need to have a corruption-free electioneering as if election is the only project which the president has the responsibility for.
“I am shocked that the CBN could pursue this senseless policy. It is not about the idea of changing currency, this governor has broken no new ground because we have changed currency before and I dare him to check the records.
“When Gen Buhari changed the colours of the naira when he did in his first coming as the military head of state, he did not forbid the banks from paying people in new notes, he did not impose restriction as to how much you can withdraw provided it is your lawful money.
“To assume that every Nigerian is corrupt…and that this policy is meant to check corruption, the CBN is not part of institutions charged with the responsibility of ensuring free, fair and credible election.”
Governor El-Rufai on Thursday said he would expose the “elements” in the Presidential Villa who are working against the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu and want him to lose the 25 February election.
El-Rufai alleged that the currency swap introduced by the CBN was meant to incite voters against the APC and was orchestrated by the forces who are bent on ensuring that the APC presidential candidate lose the election.
El-Rufai said the unnamed people hiding behind President Buhari were pursuing their interests by inciting the voters against the APC through the currency swap.
Oshiomhole re-echoed El-Rufai’s claims, stressing that the naira redesign was not meant to stop abuses as claimed by the CBN governor but to truncate the electoral processes.
The former APC National Chairman said: “I think what El-Rufai is saying is when you have a pocket of riots and protests here and there…you may end up with the situation where you are unable to conduct an election.”
The CBN had announced the new naira notes policy on 26 October, 2022 and initially gave 31 January as the deadline for the use of the old notes, but later extended it to February 10.
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