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 El-Rufai’s comment treasonable, says Datti Baba-Ahmed

The vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Datti Baba-Ahmed, has said comments made by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, on the naira redesign policy following the nationwide broadcast of the President as treasonable

El-Rufai in a state broadcast on Thursday faulted the President on his directive to re-introduce just the old N200 banknote as part of measures to curb the cash crunch in the country.

El-Rufai, who said the old N1,000 and N500 are still legal tenders in his state, stated that the aim of the naira redesign is to scuttle the general elections in order to allow an interim government led by a retired army general

However, speaking during a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the LP vice presidential candidate said the governor’s comment, amounts to treason and wondered why the presidency is silent.

He argued that there is only one authority in Nigeria which is the president and wondered how a governor could counter the directive of the president.

“Anybody who commits this kind of indiscipline under our leadership the full weight of the law should bear on him. We have been more than bewildered at the failures we have witnessed in the past few days. However, it is more of an act of treason, so to say it is an act of treason. If an elected governor of a constituent part of a sovereign country will give direct instructions to the contrary of what is the exclusive preserve of the federal government.

“Why as a Commender-in-chief you give a clean executive constitutional order and a state governor goes out to say that you should continue to exchange those currencies? This is to say that there are two authorities in a country,” Baba-Ahmed said.

El-Rufai hat the development was meant to ensure that the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, and other candidates of the party lose.

He claimed that those who lost out in the party’s primaries were behind the plot.

He said, “It is important for the people of Kaduna State, and indeed Nigeria, to know that contrary to the public pronouncements and apparent good intentions, this policy was conceived and sold to the President by officials who completely lost out in the gubernatorial and presidential primaries of the APC in June 2022.

“Once Asiwaju Bola Tinubu emerged as the candidate in June 2022, and subsequently did not pick one of them as his running mate, this currency redesign policy was conceived to ensure that the APC presidential candidate is deprived of what they alleged is a humongous war chest.

“They also sought to achieve any one or more of the following objectives: create a nationwide shortage of cash so that citizens are incited to vote against APC candidates across the board resulting in massive losses for the party in all the elections; ensure that the cash crunch is so serious, along with the contrived and enduring fuel shortage existing since September 2022, that the 2023 elections do not hold at all, leading to an Interim National Government to be led by a retired Army General; sustain the climate of shortage of fuel, food and other necessities, leading to mass protests, violence and breakdown of law and order that would provide a fertile foundation for a military take-over.

“Indeed, two of the presidential candidates and a running mate of the opposition parties own or have preferred access to some of the licensed banks. For that reason and by various clandestine arrangements, these politicians have access to hundreds of millions of these new notes, while the traders, merchants, students and other citizens are queuing for days to withdraw a few thousand naira just to buy food and necessaries.

“Within two to three weeks of implementation, it was clear to everyone that the architects of this policy can see that it is our people that are being affected and not the politicians. It is quite unfortunate that many politicians who either own banks or have privileged access to money are so insulated from the pains of talakawa that they are recklessly endorsing a policy that is being badly implemented.”

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