Buhari rebuffs APC Governors’ bid to delay currency rebranding timelines

A team of four State Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (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 their party’s presidential candidate, Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu, reportedly traveled to Daura, Katsina State, to meet the President last week. Their primary objective was to persuade the President to move the deadline for the replacement of the N1,000, N500 and N200 currency notes until after the general elections.

It was gathered that at the meeting with Buhari, the Governors and their presidential candidate canvassed for a lengthy delay in the currency rebranding timelines. 

The meeting with Buhari was said to have become crucial after an initial gathering between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele and the Governors’ Forum earlier in the week, and were told that only the President could shift the currency replacement deadline they were seeking for.

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.

However, the next day, it became apparent that the plot had failed, when a presidential statement made it clear that there would be no going back on the currency replacement and the Government’s resolve to reduce the cash in circulation. However, in deference to the State governors, the President only approved a delay of the currency replacement deadline by ten days.

Consequently, it was learnt that the Presidential Campaign Councils (PCC) of the major political parties are feeling the heat, as they have reportedly all run out of cash for campaigning. It was gathered that, for one of the leading parties, 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”.

“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,” he added.

Recall that Tinubu, in Abeokuta last week said that the fuel shortage and the currency rebrand were deliberate ploys by powerful forces within his own APC to weaken him. However, non-partisans point out that 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, 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”.

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