Naira Swap Fiasco: Onanuga Wants Emefiele Sacked, PDP Reacts

By Starrys Obazei | February 9, 2023

Bayo Onanuga, the Director of Media and Publicity for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, has called for the sack of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, following the fiasco that trailed his controversial Naira swap policy.

His call got the better side of some angry Nigerians who felt the CBN governor does not deserve to remain in office following the tension the scarcity of the new Naira notes and the short deadline had generated in the country.

However, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, kicked against the call, saying it is a ploy devised by the Tinubu camp to avoid defeat at the February 25 presidential election.

Onanuga’s call came barely 24 hours before the Supreme Court temporarily halted the move by the Federal Government through the CBN to ban the use of the old Naira notes beyond February 10, 2023.

A seven-member panel led by Justice John Okoro had granted an interim injunction against the CBN and Federal Government, allowing the old N200, N500, and N1000 to remain legal tenders beyond the February 10 deadline until the case is fully disposed of.

In an interview with The PUNCH, an angry Onanuga lamented that in a saner clime, Emefiele would have been kicked out of office for making Nigerians pass through harrowing experiences and untold hardship in the past two weeks.

According to the APC PCC media director, people can now see that it was not an APC-motivated policy as speculated in some quarters.

He said: “This is not the first time in the world that a currency is being changed. Why is it different in our country? What this has so far revealed is that we have an incompetent CBN governor. In fact, in a normal country, the man ought to have been sacked for making our people pass through hard times. People are being made to pay excessive charges to POS operators. That’s why I said it is all about the Nigerian people. How can somebody sit somewhere and conceive a program that, rather than bringing people relief, is bringing them pain? It is a satanic policy.

“The problem is not about the APC candidate. It is all about the Nigerian people. We are more concerned about the pain and anguish our people are being made to suffer. The currency swap is a CBN policy and we are happy that the president has also intervened. Apparently, he was not given the full details about the change and its implications.

“Emefiele claimed his policy will bring down inflation and strengthen the Naira. Has it done that? The dollar was about N720 some weeks ago, it is now N750. This CBN governor, in my view, should have been sacked. This is the first time in history we are having this gap between the official and parallel rates. What the CBN governor is doing, we don’t know whose agenda he is implementing, it is totally against the Nigerian people.

“As we are talking, Britain is also changing currency. They are phasing out the queen from the currency and replacing it with that of the king. It is not causing people any difficulty. It is being done seamlessly.”

PDP reacts
Reacting to the call for Emefiele’s removal, the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council described the ruling APC as a house divided against itself.

In a telephone conversation with The PUNCH, the spokesman for the PDP campaign council and Delta State Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, said for fighting one of its own, the ruling party has declared itself not ready for the elections that Nigerians are eagerly waiting to participate in.

He said: “APC has become a bad workman that keeps quarreling with his tools. Emefiele is a member of the APC. Why are they fighting themselves? They have fought to the extent of declaring the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret’d) as another opponent in this election.

“In our case, they say they are happy that Peter OBI will reduce the votes of PDP. That tells you that they are not campaigning on their strength. They said they are happy that there is a G-5 crisis. If you are campaigning on your strength, it won’t concern you whether your opponent has any challenge or not. They are trying to hold on to straws and the more they hold on to straws, the more they fall like a pack of cards.”

On how the party received the ruling of the Supreme Court on Wednesday stopping the apex bank from phasing out the 200, 500, and 1,000 notes with effect from February 10, Aniagwu said the PDP was a law-abiding party and would not disparage the court or the Justices over the matter.

“The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. As a party, we respect the judiciary and we cannot begin to cast aspersions on the judges. We believe the Central Bank knows what is supposed to do to ensure that the policy works in the interest of all Nigerians,” he added.

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