Naira crisis: Presidency sternly warns El-Rufai, Ganduje


The Presidency Friday said there was no truth to the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari was working towards the truncation of democracy through the installation of an interim government.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said this in a statement titled “Stop the Joke about Interim Government, Elections Will Hold.”

While Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano State had alleged that the naira redesign policy of President Buhari was aimed at truncating Nigeria’s democracy, his counterpart in Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, claimed the scarcity of naira notes was a part of the plots to disrupt the forthcoming elections in order to ensure the emergence of an interim government.

But in a swift reaction, the presidential spokesman said it was another dangerous dimension by people who were afraid that they might lose their elections.

Shehu said the creation of an atmosphere of panic was not a strategy to address the pressure that arose from the way the currency swap had been implemented.

He said the naira swap was not “engineered” to keep the President in office beyond May 29, stressing that “the President looks forward to handing over the reins of power to his elected successor. This will happen on May 29, 2023 as the Constitution requires it.

“The days of unelected Nigerian leaders, and those who outstay their welcome by unconstitutionally extending it, have gone.”

Shehu said: “Elections, just a week ahead, will hold and Nigerians will vote for the All Progressives Congress, APC, (and any others if they so wish) on the basis of their choice.

“Our people want progress, good governance, law and order and will not be swayed by the negative energy that is being expended against a well-meaning currency change.”

He also reiterated the President’s support for the APC presidential candidate, saying “to state that: the President clearly has a favoured successor in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is not in doubt.

“The fact that Tinubu has been opposed to the speed and timing of the Naira swap timetable does not mean he is against the idea of Nigeria becoming a cashless society. Of course, Tinubu does support a cashless society: for he is a man of the future.”

The statement read: “Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda Chief of Adolf Hitler said ‘Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth’. This was in the 1930s, before the internet was birthed.

“Let us clearly, specifically and emphatically state that there is absolutely no truth to the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is working towards an interim government or even worse, the truncation of democracy- democracy that he has helped to keep alive not only here at home, in West Africa but throughout the continent.

“The talk of interim government and truncation of democracy is way off the mark. Those who peddle it stand to gain nothing- nothing at all -but the creation of panic and the incitement of the public against the federal government….

“Everybody is aware that there is a lot of pressure on everyone-all of us- the party, its elected officials, its candidates and law enforcement agencies following the way the currency swap has gone but the way to go is not to panic.

“There is indeed a problem and nobody will pretend that it doesn’t exist.

“It is precisely because the President is concerned with this problem that he opened several avenues for consultation with leaders and groups across the country, culminating in his broadcast to the nation on Thursday morning.

“In line with the speech, his clear and unequivocal directive is that the problem of cash supply must be addressed without delay.

“While this is being done, there is no need to panic. We need to work together as leaders; as a people and as one nation. When panic hits, people go into overdrive. Shouting helps no one because no one can listen. The solution to the problem is not in sending Nigerians into confusion.”