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How Emefiele, CBN, Deceieved Buhari Over New Naira Notes Policy - Oshiomhole

Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of Edo, says Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), “deceived” President Muhamadu Buhari that the naira redesign policy will curb vote buying during the elections. 

Oshiomhole spoke on Sunday during an interview on Channels Television.

Over the past few days, Nigerians across the country have been battling with the scarcity of new naira notes — a development that has led to queues at banking halls and automated teller machines (ATMs).

The development has also led to protests in some parts of the country.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had given a deadline of January 31 for the use of old naira notes — but it was recently extended to February 10.

Speaking on the development, Oshiomhole described the policy as “senseless”, saying the decision was taken without any consultation with the government.

He said the absence of wisdom in the implementation of the policy is making vulnerable Nigerians spend days at ATM outlets to withdraw money.

The former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) accused the CBN governor of deceiving the president that the policy would curb corrupt practices during February and March polls.

“There was no consultation, not even within the government, at least the minister of finance cried out and she warned that there could be economic consequences arising from this decision,” Oshiomhole said.

“We’re taught in basic leadership that whoever has power should pray for wisdom. And with wisdom you will recognise that (with) a population of 200 million people, you can’t change policy overnight as you change from generator to NEPA and vice versa.

“But even worse is that you want me to change my old clothes by fire by force. I’m willing to do so. You told me to remove the old clothes and that I’d need new ones.

“I’ve removed the old clothes but the new ones are not available, and you leave me naked. And then you tell me that I can’t take more than N20,000 from my own money.

“So, if you spend N35,000 or N30,000 to buy a bag of rice, CBN has a policy that says you can’t take more than N20,000, that is where the ATM is working, which means you will have to queue all day to take money enough to pay for half a bag.

“And if you need a whole bag, you have to queue another day to raise N40,000 to buy a bag of rice. This is not sensible.

“Having worked as a chairman (APC), which enable me to work and relate directly with the president, I know the trick that the CBN played.

“We have a president who had told the world and I believe he was right that if Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria and he meant it.

“Even in informal talks, we do say that if you want the president to accede to something you must assure him that what you want him to approve will not in any way translate to a corrupt practice.

“I think I can guess because I was not there that in obtaining the approval which the president said he gave, I believe the CBN deceived the president by amplifying the need to have a corruption-free electioneering as if the election is the only project that this president has responsibility for.”

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