The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, has talked about fellow presidential candidates.
He says his contemporaries are not affected by the naira redesign policy because “they are owners of banks”. In October 2022, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), announced the plan to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, and asked Nigerians to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023, when they would cease to be legal tender.
Though the deadline has been shifted to February 10, many Nigerians have found it difficult to obtain the new naira notes. President Muhammadu Buhari has declared his support for the policy and said it would deter politicians from “mobilising resources to intimidate voters in the 2023 general election”.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Thursday, Kwankwaso said politicians, particularly candidates in the next month’s elections, are unaffected by the policy. The former governor of Kano said the elite have an influence on banks in the states, and would not feel any impact of the scarcity of currency.
“We in the NNPP are not comfortable with the three months and even the 10 days they are talking about. Many people who are in Abuja who are in the comfort of their offices or homes wouldn’t understand what is happening outside there,” Kwankwaso said.
“What the government is saying has to do with people who would want to take too much money, like leaders and politicians. They don’t know that many of our colleagues, those who are contesting, especially the presidential candidates, and by extension all those in their parties are owners of the banks.
“And not only that, people close to them have banks everywhere. So, they will lose nothing. PDP has governors, and APC has governors. Governors by now would have collected so much money from the banks in their states. “If their friends have got banks, I’m sure one or two of them may have banks or own large shares in some of these banks.
“Some people in politics may for some strategic reasons be complaining but those complaining I believe is just a gimmick, I don’t believe that they mean it. We believe they don’t have issues.