Nigerians to politicians: Don’t play politics with Nigeria’s economy, we’re in pain

  • Nigerians to politicians: Don’t play politics with Nigeria’s economy, we’re in pain
  • Fault Atiku’s comment on naira redesign


Uba Group

Some Nigerians have faulted a statement credited to the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, advising the Central Bank of Nigeria not to extend the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes with new ones.

Those who spoke with our correspondents in separate interviews said Nigerian politicians should learn not to mix politics with every situation, adding that though the naira redesign policy might be a good one, the timing of implementation was wrong and was already causing chaos.

The former Vice-President had advised the CBN not to extend the February 10 deadline for the exchange of old naira notes with new ones, saying any further extension would destroy the purpose and objective of the policy.

“The vote riggers are seeking to push the CBN to extend till after the election when they would have achieved their evil plots,” he said.

Reacting, a former PDP House of Representatives Member from the North, said he was disappointed that the PDP candidate could assume that the majority of Nigerians that were suffering the effects of the sudden policy would be happy with his position.

According to him, the policy is affecting the common man more, and though it would help make the ruling party more unpopular, Atiku should not support it publicly.

The outspoken ex-lawmaker, who asked not to be named, said, “I am disappointed that Atiku could be playing politics with the issue of naira redesign. How can he be saying it is those who want to rig elections that are criticising the CBN Governor. No one is saying that the policy is not a good one. Even Governor Nasir El-Rufai did not say so. They are talking about the timing and the effect on so many unbanked Nigerians in the rural areas and so on.

“Look at how the whole country has been thrown into chaos for weeks. People are fighting in banking halls. Look at the issue of fuel scarcity also. Don’t you now think that there is sabotage somewhere?

“I’m not campaigning for anyone even though I’m a card carrying member of PDP. But the party has not also been able to manage its internal affairs. So let the best man emerge as the next President.”

An executive director of one of the top three Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria confided in our correspondent that it was clear to players in the banking sector that the policy implementation was ill-timed.

“The timing is very wrong. We don’t have the capacity to deal with this at this time. If you want me to tell you the truth, it will be chaos and more chaos, reviews upon reviews. So, is this the time to go into all this? When elections are just some days away? The stress is too much. The Bankers Committee knows that these things are not feasible. They know the pain customers would go through, and by extension, the economy. We need time to really reap the benefits of this policy. Other countries have passed through this stage, but not this way. The attendant effect on ordinary Nigerians with little means would not be good at all as we have been seeing,” he noted.

On Atiku’s comment, he said it was unfortunate that our leaders “play politics with everything under the sun.”