Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has decried the policy of redesigning the naira notes and the deadline given by the federal government for the use of the old notes. Speaking to some journalists, Kwankwaso said the present administration does not listen to the plights of the masses and promised to make sure that nobody loses his old naira notes when his party comes into power. Johnchuks Onuanyim was there and reports.
Can you speak to Nigerians inrespect to the hardship or difficulties they are experiencing most especially on the issue of redesigned of the New Naira Notes and deadline given for the use of the old notes by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
First of all let me start by symphatizing with the people of Nigeria most especially the common man and the masses who hustle day and night to earn a living in order to provide for the needs of their immediate families. Infact, this policy that was introduced at this critical time most especially as the general election moves nearer is something to be worried about because the period given by the Government to change the old Naira notes to the new naira notes is not enough to meet up despite all the calls from different channels to extend the period given by the Federal Government which was only listened to two days to Jan. 31 dateline. Beside, one of the responsibilities of the Government is to subsidize for the people by providing security and protect the lives of the citizenry and also boost the economy to enable the citizens provide for the needs of their families. But upon all the advices we gave the Government of the day regarding this policy, it seems the Government is not ready to adhere to it. But nevertheless, we will not relent in our efforts. The Government of the day should realize that, this is a democratic system of Government where those at the helm of affairs were voted in by the electorate and unfortunately the electorate are always at the receiving end. From all indications, the Government is not really prepared for this policy. Infact, when we brought this kind of policy in Kano state when I was the Governor we now realize that, many local Government areas in the state had no banks. That was why we provided 37 micro finance banks in 37 Local Government Areas in the state so that people will have access to the banks within their locality. That is for Kano state. Furthermore, most states in their rural communities have no any provision for such banks. Most owners of shops in Kano State closed their shops and traders who engage in buying and selling, only God Almighty knows the lost they will be counting without this little deadline of 31 January 2023 adjustment. And beside, those politicians the masses want to change for good, most especially the PDP and APC who have been ruling this country for decades, this policy will not affect them because they own some of the banks. We are still advising the Government of the day to look into the matter and find a lasting solution to this lingering problem to enable the masses and the common man have access to their banks in order to change the old naira notes to the new redesigned naira notes because as it is right now there were allegations that, most of these politicians have stashed their homes with the new naira notes which made it to be scarce even in the banks across the country. But we as a party, that is the NNPP, we have decided that, whenever we emerge as winners in this election come February 25th 2023 we will open a window where people will have access to the banks without any hitches to deposit their hard earned money in banks because NNPP is a party that is much concerned about the plight of the common man and we will make sure that, the common man will have all it takes to become self reliant at all levels. That is why we are calling on Nigerians to be patient with all the situations they found themselves, it is just a matter of time.
Supposing you are the President of this country will you support this policy.
Not at all because any policy that will not favour the common man we are not party to it. Those that are in Government presently thought with this policy they will deprive others of their electioneering campaign. Honestly, if a serious Government wants to redesign new naira notes, the Government should give enough time for people to meet up with that policy.
It seems you are so much concerned about this policy, in your own view if the deadline was not extended what do you think will happen at the end of the day.
I don’t think anything serious will happen except good tiding. You see, my advice to the common man is that, they should keep their money and PVCs safe. They should endeavor to go to the Polling Units during election to elect NNPP and that was the reason for politics. Every party should come out with their Manifestos and Blueprints of what they will offer to Nigerians differently for people to vote them in to the office. Those parties you are seeing I mean the APC and PDP are all birds of the same feather, their aim is to deprive Nigerians of their rights as citizens at all levels and that is why we in the NNPP came on board to kick those parties out God willing in the forthcoming election.
There are speculations that this policy was aimed at disrupting this election. What is your take on this.
I don’t believe that. Beside, I have heard one of the Presidential Candidates saying that, the policy was aimed at him, and it is all lies. Can’t you see some Governors, Ministers and the President going round with them telling Nigerians to vote them? So, it wasn’t aimed at him. Let me tell you, the policy is aimed at us as you can see we have no access to this money but they do. We don’t have banks, all we have at our disposal is the common man and the common man has no bank either. So, at the end of the day, we are at the receiving end. In fact, they are birds of the same feather that flock together as I mentioned earlier on. They have these new naira notes at their disposal for vote buying and at the end of the day, they will portray to Nigerians that all is well as far as the policy is concerned.
Do you think this policy will prevent vote buying as they presumed.
We as a party we are very much happy that, we didn’t come out for money politics. Beside, we don’t even have the kind of money they have to spend around and we are not engaging in vote buying but we have the people who believe in our ideologies and struggle and if we succeed, the success is for all of us. Those engaging in vote buying have the backing of the Banks, Governor and even the Federal Government, so you can’t deprive them access to the new naira notes. Furthermore, we the opposition parties and the common man are at the receiving end because we have no access to the monies.
If eventually, you didn’t emerge as a winner in this race and those who want to change their money couldn’t what will be their fate.
Almighty Allah will not even accept this prayer because Nigerians are suffering beyond reasonable doubt most especially in the Northern part of the country where they are facing various kind of challenges. Besides, Nigerians are angry and it is a good thing for them to be angry at this material time just the way am angry too. I am equally advising Nigerians to come out enmass during the forthcoming elections to show those people that, they can not do anything without their votes of the common man and that they can not be where they are today without their votes. So, Nigerians should come out to exercise their franchise in order to have access to good education, good health care facilities and security to mention but a few. But how can a serious Government give its citizens three months period only for the redesigning of New naira notes? Honestly, this is unrealistic and not feasible and with this kind of situation, you get to the bank or POS centres to deposit the old naira notes to no avail. That is why we are advising those in Government to please come to the aid of the common man to ease him from this suffering, infact people are in a critical condition. Recently, I came across a young man on social media, who swore that, if he can’t have access to change his old naira notes, he will join the terrorist group. So, please whenever anyone of you come in contact with him please advise him to keep his money safe and if eventually he succeeded in changing them to the new naira notes so be it. Let him do all he can for us to become victorious in order to come to his aid and he shouldn’t think of joining any terrorist group because terrorism is not the last resort or option for a young man like him in order not to regret his action at the end of the day. Because in our own agenda we condemn such acts in totality we won’t allow that to happen to anyone. That was why we are saying people should keep their PVCs safe for NNPP to emerge and open windows for the common man to change his old naira notes.
Some groups of youths are saying they will stand on their feet firmly and not allow any Government to bankrupt them what will you say about that.
That is why I am always telling them to be patient and also keep their PVCs safe in preparation for the forthcoming General Elections and they should keep it at the back of their minds that, this rubbish or nonsense is a matter of time and it will come and pass. All they need to do is to elect those that they feel will take them to the promised land. If not, a day will come when the common man will be impoverished. Thank God for the Introduction of BVAS which we believe will prevent electoral malpractices. Make sure you protect your votes in all cases.