Vote for Tinubu, Buhari tells Nigerians; Naira redesign was approved, Currency recolouring resulted – El-Rufai | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Vote for Tinubu, Buhari tells Nigerians
  • Naira redesign was approved, currency recolouring resulted – El-Rufai
  • Wike absent as Atiku meets Rivers PDP Stakeholders in Abuja
  • LASTMA issues travel advisory ahead of APC Presidential Campaign Rally
  • FG using naira swap policy to target ‘criminals it knows’ – Ezekwesili

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

Vote for Tinubu, Buhari tells Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to cast their votes for Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Saturday’s presidential election.

In a special video message released on Sunday, Buhari hailed Tinubu as “reliable” and said that his party’s candidate is a sincere believer in Nigeria.

The president stated that he is aware of the hardships that some development-oriented government measures have caused Nigerians.

He urged Nigerians to be more patient while assuring them that the government is working to mitigate the impact.

“Fellow Nigerians, I want to use this opportunity to once again thank you for electing me to be your President on two occasions,” Buhari said.

“I am not a contestant in this election, but my party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has a candidate in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As I mentioned before, Tinubu is a true believer in Nigeria, who loves the people and the development of our country.

“I am calling on all of you to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is reliable and I trust he will build on our achievements.

“Finally, I want to once again assure you that I am fully aware of the current hardship you are facing as a result of some policies of the government which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country.

“I am appealing to you to exercise further patience as we take appropriate measures to ease these hardships. God willing, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.”

Naira redesign was approved, currency recolouring resulted – El-Rufai

The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasiru El-Rufai, asserts that President Muhammadu’s approval of the redesigning and swapping of the currency differs from what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has done.

In a message headlined ‘Nigeria Update: ABC of Currency Redesign vs. XYZ of Cash Confiscation Explained’, which he tweeted on Sunday night, the Governor, who has passionately opposed the new monetary policy of the Buhari government, attempted to provide some clarifications.

The Governor asserted that while the President authorized the redesign of the N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) just recolored them.

“Currency redesign was approved by the President and announced. Currency recolouring resulted,” El-Rufai said.

He further claimed that the President approved a currency swap, which means that Nigerians should deposit their old notes to the banks and receive the equivalents in return, while the CBN embarked on Naira confiscation instead.

“Currency swap was envisaged by s.20(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act as approved by PMB. Swap means I take N100,000 to the bank in old notes & I receive N100,000 immediately in new notes. No more, no less,” he said.

The Governor said that the apex bank only printed N400 billion and withdrew over N2trn from the system during the implementation of the cash swap, accusing the bank of unlawfully confiscating the naira notes, a decision, according to him, that saw trade and exchange collapse in the country and brought suffering, impoverishment, and economic contraction.

“The policy objective was derailed into a deliberate national fiasco to sabotage the elections in the name of preventing vote-buying. All efforts to get CBN to implement what was lawfully approved failed.

“Some State Governments had no choice but to approach the Supreme Court for adjudication,” he said, insisting that the ruling All Progressives Congress and all the Governors of the party are unanimous that the Federal Government must review the implementation of the new policy.

The Governor also said that there must be total compliance with the subsisting verdict of the apex court until final judgment.

Wike absent as Atiku meets Rivers PDP Stakeholders in Abuja

Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), met with Rivers State stakeholders on Sunday evening in Abuja, prior to Saturday’s hotly contested election.

Prince Uche Secondus, the former national chairman of the party, Senator Ben Bruce, the former governor of Rivers state, Celestine Omehia, and other notable party members in the state were present at the meeting.

Senator Dino Melaye, the Head of Public Affairs for Atiku’s campaign, indicated that the meeting was compensation for the Rivers State rally that was canceled due to the standoff with Governor Nyesom Wike.

Senator Lee Maeba, the co-convener, promised the PDP of victory in Rivers State and outlined many federal projects that Atiku should prioritize in the state, including the construction of the East-West Road.

In his remarks, the candidate promised full completion of the East-West Road and to revamp the Federal Government amnesty programme upon assuming office.

Afterward, the presidential candidate headed for another meeting with the PDP National Assembly candidates, where his running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, addressed the candidates.

Okowa appealed to the federal legislative candidates to carry on with the campaigns in their respective constituencies and senatorial districts.

He urged them to win their elections, saying the PDP needed the majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

The vice-presidential candidate also called on the candidates to protect their votes cast for the PDP on Saturday.

Atiku, in his address to the candidates, stated that Nigeria was in one of the most challenging times in its history.

According to him, the country is more divided, and security and the economy are in a sorry state. He added that to redirect the country, there is a great need to “work together when we are all elected.”

LASTMA issues travel advisory ahead of APC Presidential Campaign Rally

The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has issued a travel advisory to aid commuting around the state ahead of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign rally scheduled for Tuesday.

The event is to be held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, with President Muhammadu Buhari expected to lead the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).

The LASTMA General Manager, Bolaji Oreagba, in a statement on Sunday, said the company of campaigners making their way to the venue would include the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu; party stalwarts; party faithful; and supporters.

Oreagba disclosed that the APC leaders will travel from the local airport through Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Maryland; Ikorodu Road (Idi-Iroko, Anthony, Obanikoro, Onipanu, Fadeyi), Jibowu, Empire, Moshalashi, Ojuelegba, Barracks, arriving at the stadium.

The traffic management agency provided alternative routes for affected commuters.

FG using naira swap policy to target ‘criminals it knows’ – Ezekwesili

A former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has expressed strong criticism of the naira swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to the economic policy expert, rather than focus on fiscal and monetary policy, the Federal Government is using the apex bank to target political “criminals it knows”.

Ezekwesili who made her position known on Sunday during a live appearance on Channels Television’s The 2023 Verdict, a special election programme.

Dissecting the controversial CBN directive touted as addressing vote-buying and illicitly hoarded funds, she argued that it was crucial for the apex bank to be thoughtful about “what are we solving for?”

If one is solving for less cash in “our society” as the medium of exchange, she says, the thing to do is plan properly for the transition.

“But there’s a second thing that we seem to be solving for which has now taken ascendancy over the monetary policy. We are using the central bank to solve the problem of criminality in our politics,” she stated.

“That’s an objective, but is it an objective that the central bank should be smack into? There’s something wrong with that because what has happened is, you have because of criminals that you know – the government knows the criminals, they are part of them.

“If it wanted to, in a transparent manner, get them, it would get them. But what it has done is it has basically discomfited the citizens, the poor women in the market, the people just barely eking out a living, and now struggling because of the criminality our politics.”

Speaking on how she would tackle the policy, the former World Bank vice president said there was no reason to roll it back, given the technological strides the African continent has recorded of late.

She however had reservations on the policy implementation by the CBN, explaining that going cashless is essentially more about encouraging the use of “less cash” than doing away with banknotes altogether.

“It does make a lot of sense for us to not be loading bags of money all over the place. But when you think of how the operational plan for this policy has been bungled, it just is appalling.

“And to think that it also happened so close to elections is a double whammy, as the Americans would say.”

In her view, it is evident that the banks are not ready for a full transition to a cashless society.

“Their technology is not upgraded to the point where they can actually respond effectively, so there’s a complete system breakdown. That is the principal thing that you think you’re solving for. There are very clear pathways to solving it,” she noted.

“By mixing all of it up, you’ve created this chaos. What is clear is that the politicians have again put their interests above that of the citizens,” Ezekwesili said.

Her analysis of the Buhari administration’s monetary policy is that it has “become so completely immersed in the politics of our country, which is such a disgrace.”

She added, “Frankly speaking, I don’t even know whether there are economists left in the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

Decrying what she termed the “serial failure” to think through policies and policy timelines, she accused the current CBN of failing to interrogate policies on the basis of the evidence on the table, such that data helps drive decisions more than impulse.

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