Nigeria’s Currency Notes Swap, Emefiele and Desperate Politicians

…..By Innocent Onoh

The Supreme Court Ruling on Naira Notes Swap is not in the good interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

The Court on Wednesday temporarily halted the move by the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban the use of the old naira notes from February 10, 2023.

Justice Okoro of the Supreme Court held that, “An order of Interim Injunction restraining the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023, the time frame with which the now older version of the 200, 500 and 1,000 denomination of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction.”

It will be recalled that some APC governors dragged the CBN and the Federal Government to the Supreme Court, seeking a halt to the full implementation of the naira redesign policy initiated by the apex bank.

It is quite unfortunate that Nigerians are too gullible that they allow desperate politicians completely destroy their nation. The CBN’s policy on redesigning of N200, N500 and N1000 notes is by all standards in other and in-fact came at the right time. That policy is not intended to merely redesign the affected naira notes, but to use it to solve teething national problems-insecurity and excessive spending on election.

It is a common knowledge that kidnapping for money has become a booming business for certain enemies of the country and it’s people. These evil people have formed such a formidable alliance with those that matter, and with that can succeed in abducting large number of victims at once and collecting millions and even billions of naira as ransoms.

In the area of election spending, we have the worst crop of politicians who can do anything to clinch power. They kill, maim, destroy and steal. Imagine that these people go about giving money to people to dispossess them of their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, so that they don’t against them. They pay the electorates to vote for them in what is commonly known as “VOTE BUYING”.

Spending excessively to win election destroys the economy and it rubbishes monetary policies, especially in an economy as ours that has remained fragile. Looking at the atmosphere, it can be seen that these guys are ready to spend big because some of them are desperate to become president. They have taken out of the bank billions of naira for vote buying. With such amount of money taken out, what is remaining in the banking system to service the economy? We have a situation where more money is not in the bank, they are with the people in their homes. The implication of that is that we don’t even know how much we really have.

With excessive spending on election in a very short people, the nation will be hit by unprecedented inflation rate. Already, a lot of macroeconomics are in red. There is also a forecast that most nations should get ready for a mega financial crisis. With the way things are going, Nigeria may be among the worst hit when the crisis finally sets in.

Nigeria’s economy is very fragile and is controlled by global activities since the nation is not producing as it still relies on revenue from oil that is not sustainable.

The currency redesign which the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, started is just a perfect measure to secure the economy. It will force politicians to release to the banks the billions that they have been saving at home. Also, terrorists will submit the ones that they have been keeping in their enclaves. That way, CBN will have a fair knowledge of the amount of money in circulation to aid their regulation and planning.

The CBN’s governor may have goofed by openly venturing into politics while still in charge of the apex bank ,but as it is said, you don’t throw away the baby with the bath water. Besides, his action is a reflection of the character of the present government. We have seen many of its serving top functionaries purchasing party nomination forms to contest election even when they still held their political and appointed positions. Emefiele’s mistake should not be the yardstick for jettisoning its noble policy to redesign of the the naira notes that are easily hoarded. Now many are tagging the CBN’s policy as a political fight against his political opponents.

My findings show that in truth, the policy is laudable and it came at the right time. The CBN should be supported by all men and women of goodwill to complete the task before election on February, 25th.

As has been discovered, the identified failure seen in the scarcity of naira notes, was not the fault of the CBN. The commercial banks who were selling and hoarding the new notes as well as politicians that failed to send their monies to the bank are the real enemies.

It is good that the personnel of some of the affected commercial banks and their collaborators have been arrested by the EFCC. The politicians that are still hoarding large sums of money at home should also be charged with money laundry , prosecuted and forced to submit their monies in the banks.

All hands must be on deck to ensure the success of the Naira Notes Redesigning policy as it is most appropriate this time to save our economy and alleviate the level of suffering and hardship in the land.

Innocent Onoh writes from Lagos

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