It is now obvious that the ruling All Progressives Congress, or APC, will be represented by a divided house in the general elections of 2023, which are just one week away.
Attacks against the party’s leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, have come from his former allies and close friends.
With some of them openly stating that the President’s orders regarding the Naira redesign policy would not be followed, governors on the party platform are on the President’s case.
On Thursday, Buhari had approved the reinstatement of the old N200 notes as legal tender in a national broadcast. But according to him, the deadline for the old N1000 and N500 notes is still February 10.
Buhari said, “To further ease the supply pressures, particularly to our citizens, I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation.
“And that it should also be permitted to circulate as legal tender for 60 days, from February 10, 2023, to April 10, 2023, when the old N200 notes cease to be legal tender, along with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes.”
Governors on the APC platform, however, were adamantly opposed.
They maintain that the policy was created by “certain elements” in the presidency to prevent Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, from winning the election.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, Kano State’s Umar Abdullahi Ganduje, and Badaru Abubakar, the governor of Jigawa, are leading the assault.
El-Rufai and Ganduje assert that there was an attempt to end the nation’s democracy and impose military rule.
They make claims that are not dissimilar from those made by Femi Fani-Kayode, who is now a frequent visitor to the Department of State Services (DSS) due to the allegations he made.
The military was also quick to state that it had no intention of interfering with the democratic process in the nation and to caution politicians to watch what they say.
However, the President’s former aides are now making more criticisms of his administration.
El-Rufai asked his State’s citizens to keep using the old Naira notes in his address to them on Thursday night. The President’s earlier order has been completely disobeyed by this.
El-rufai urged them to stand up strongly for democracy, peace and national unity.
He said, “Let us stay calm and peaceful, and support the lawful means being utilised to solve our problems. On behalf of the Kaduna State Government, I wish to assure you that none of you would lose the money you have in old notes.
“Let no artificial and illegal deadline frighten you. Whether you live in towns, villages or in our isolated rural communities, do not feel stampeded to deposit your old notes in the banks. Hold on to them.
“Continue to use them as legal tender as ordered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The value of them cannot ever be destroyed by a deadline. Your side of the law is strong. The CBN is required by the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007 and the Bills of Exchange Act to accept your old notes and give you value for new notes whenever you present them to the CBN, even if that is one hundred years from now.
Therefore, as your governor, I assure you that the Kaduna State Government, working with elected legislators, traditional institutions, elected local government councils, markets, and traders associations, will assist you in gathering, documenting, compiling, delivering, and exchanging all of your old notes for new ones at the Kaduna branch of the Central Bank as soon as the elections are over.
While toeing the same path earlier, Governor Umar Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State came hard on President Buhari, accusing him of refusing to abide by the Supreme Court order.
In an audio recording, Ganduje was quoted in vernacular asking, that, “President Buhari should remember that for several times he was trying to contest Presidency but he couldn’t make it until there was an alliance, but now after enjoying everything, he turned back against the same democratic system that saw him to office”.
He accused the President of refusing to heed genuine advice but chose to do the bidding of those misleading him, even at the detriment of his party, the APC.
“I wonder why the President is hellbent on making the same Party that helped him to win elections lose out, what did we do to him that he is this ignorant on several pieces of advice forwarded to him.
“This same Buhari he contested again and again but he couldn’t win not until there was an alliance. Now he wins and wins again for the second term, now that he is leaving, he wants to cripple the same Party that brought him to power why?
“This Currency Swap Policy, why didn’t the President bring it seven and a half years ago or after elections, but now one must be compelled to think that there is an ulterior motive in the whole thing,” the Kano Governor said.
In Jigawa, the State Government has also said the old naira notes remain legal tender pending the judgement of the Supreme Court.
This was stated in a statement released on Thursday by Bala Ibrahim Mamsa, the state commissioner for information, youth sports, and culture.
He claims that “Jigawa State is one of the States before the Supreme Court of Nigeria the CBN and the court have issued an order “…restraining the CBN from suspending or determining or ending on the 10th of February, 2023, the time period in which the now-outdated 200, 500, and 1000 denominations of the naira may no longer be legal tender pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on notice.”
It urged its citizens to refrain from breaking the law and upsetting the state’s populace.
The State government advised the populace to contact the closest competent authorities if any trader or business organization refused to accept the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes as legal tender in Jigawa State.
The APC governors would be held accountable if the upcoming general election was short-circuited, according to Mazi Okechukwu Iziguzoro, secretary general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide.
He questioned why governors should be at the fore in leading an opposition against a party policy.
It is a fascinating time, he acknowledged. Nobody could have predicted that El-Rufai and Ganduje, who have been posing as Buhari’s henchmen, would now come out with such audacity to defy his (Buhari’s) orders.
“They are talking about disobedience to the Supreme Court order. But let me ask the governors- what did they say when the Federal Government refused to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu despite an order of the Court of Appeal? Have they been obeying all the court orders in their various States?
“The answer to the above questions is obvious. So, they should stop deceiving Nigerians. They are fighting the policy not because they so love the masses. The truth is that it is for selfish reasons.
“However, Nigerians are watching and listening to their utterances too. Should anything happen to the country’s democracy, they should be held responsible.
“Why should they be talking about military takeover everyday? Is there anything they know which we don’t know? These governors should not hide under immunity to undermine the country’s democratic process.”
“Right now, they are enthroning anarchy and security agencies should not allow it. We cannot understand a situation where a governor would openly counter the President’s order on such a sensitive matter. It is an invitation to anarchy.
However, the federal government must use its apparatus to thwart those governors’ plans to set the nation ablaze, the Ohanaeze scribe emphasized.
In response to the developments, former federal lawmaker Shehu Sani advised President Buhari to anticipate additional attacks from the governors.
He tweeted, “The President should prepare for more attacks from the Governors of his Party.
“He has crossed the Red Sea using the miracle stick and wants to abandon his men there.”
It remains to be seen what transpires in the coming days as tension continues to rise in advance of the presidential election.