It is 15 days to the general election and the nation’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission is worried that fuel scarcity may affect logistics for the polls.
INEC says scarcity of Naira notes and the hardship it has brought on Nigerians who have been expressing their anger over the situation might lead to breakout of violence on election Day.
Speaking on how the federal government is handling the issue of fuel scarcity and the naira which is a major concern for Nigerians, Political Affairs analyst Michael Oluwagbemi said it is very unfortunate and very unusual that Nigeria is still experiencing fuel scarcity since last year 2022, given that the Buhari administration has had prided itself as having conquered scarcity of queues since it came into governance especially the perennial queue that always came up during the festive period.
He noted that these kind of queue that started just before Christmas and continues to persist after Christmas into the election period raises some serious questions and suspicion and that there’s a there’s a
grand design of sabotage within the government itself which is something that should be a concern to Nigerians.
He added that the same is also true about the currency crisis.
Mr Olugbemi said in his opinion, what is currently happening is a home grown manufactured crisis which does not need to exist and Nigerians need not be subjected to any kind of crisis.
He added Nigeria is still actually a cash society and for the CBN actually to come out to claim that it has only been able to print 300 billion to replace two
trillion it was planning to withdraw from the economy itself is an admission of failure.
“It is not illegal to own money and when you say something is a legal tender, you’re bearing the full faith and credit of the federal government of Nigeria the meaning of Faith there means that anytime I want to redeem it, that it has to be redeemed. So the full faith and credit of the Nigerian government is at risky and so we must require that all old legal tender continue to be acceptable until at such time the CBN is able to replace every single currency”.
In his submission, Political Analyst Rasak Olokoba said the decision taken by the federal government on the currency is an economic policy as elections are political decisions, and if put side by side does not have to go simultaneously.
According to Mr Olokoba, immediately a policy is introduced that appears to have an ulterior motive, there’s a crisis.
The Supreme court had on Wednesday halted the move by the federal government to ban the use of old naira notes from February 10, 2023.
A seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro, stopped the move in a ruling in an ex-parte application brought by three states including Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara.
The three states specifically applied for an order of interim injuction restraining the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria or the commercial banks from suspending or determining or ending on February 10, 2023 the time frame with which the older version of the N200, N500 and N1000 may no longer be a legal tender.
In a counter motion, the federal government came out to say the courts lacked jurisdiction to do that.
Mr Olokoba noted that while it is legitimate to redesign the currency, two major political decisions cannot cannot be run simultaneously.