Bayo Onanuga, the director of media and publicity for the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, has slammed the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and his “conspirators” for being bent on “punishing” Nigerians as people struggle to get cash to spend.
He was backed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigerians have been scrambling for naira notes amidst the scarcity of the N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes induced by the CBN’s policy to phase the notes, setting a February 10 deadline. The Supreme Court has since temporarily stopped the apex bank from enforcing the deadline.
Following the Supreme Court’s temporary injunction, Mr Onanuga excoriated Mr Emefiele for his “senseless” approach to changing some naira notes.
“It thus does not make any sense for Emefiele to insist that February 10 deadline must be observed. It is sheer madness on the part of the monetary authorities. In other saner climes, the currency swap is done seamlessly for a period not less than 12 months,” the APC official said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Mr Onanuga added, “Why was Emefiele insistent on punishing our people over their money? He should search his conscience and return to the drawing board along with his conspirators.”
On Wednesday, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice John Okoro halted the move to ban the use of N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes in a ruling on an ex parte application brought by three northern states of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara.
In October 2022, the CBN announced plans to redesign N200, N500 and N1000 notes, a decision Mr Buhari publicly supported. The policy was, according to CBN, targeted at recovering over 80 per cent of the country’ currency hoarded out of the economy.
In a rally in Abeokuta two weeks ago, APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu accused Mr Buhari’s regime of pushing the naira redesign policy to frustrate his presidential ambition.
Though Mr Tinubu’s media team later claimed his outburst was not aimed at the president, Governor Nasir El-Rufai reechoed Mr Tinubu’s stance that Mr Buhari’s cabal is plotting to make him lose the February 25 presidential election.