The treasonable actions of some APC governors over the naira redesign, a matter constitutionally exclusive to the Federal Government, should worry all patriots who want the February/March elections to hold. These latter-day saints want the naira redesign policy halted, or they truncate the election.
The interests of these governors are varied. Apart from the need for big cash to push in their surrogates as successors, there could be other more latent issues that they need to keep the lid on even after office. For example, to date, nobody knows how the bandits were brought into Nigeria in 2014 as part of the grand plan to force Goodluck Jonathan from power. Nobody knows how they have been maintained ever since. Nobody knows how some politicians are connected to terrorism financing, how the kidnap rings function, and how the billions the kidnappers have collected in cash will be returned to banks. So, when some of these governors cry more than the bereaved, think about some of these deep issues that hardly meet the eye.
Nigeria is indeed a country of anything goes. Nigeria is a presidential democracy where the quintessence of the principle of separation of powers ought to be evident. The functions of the three arms of government are distinctly pronounced in the 1999 Constitution – the Legislature makes laws, the executive implements, and the judiciary interprets.
Nigeria is also a federalist and a constitutional democracy. The federal government operates the Exclusive List of the 1999 constitution(as amended), while the states run the items enumerated in the Concurrent List. The Concurrent List is also not reserved for the states as federating units. Federal government or its National Assembly does not only have the right to equally legislate on the concurrent items but also has the upper hand in the sense that laws made by the NASS are adjudged superior to those made by the federating units, i.e. the states. In effect, the laws made by states that are at variance with laws made by the federal government (NASS) are rendered null and void to the extent of their inconsistencies with the federal laws on concurrent matters.
With this background in mind, one is at a loss regarding the powers being flexed by some state governors such as Mallam El Rufai of Kaduna state, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state, Yahaya Bello of Kogi state, and some latter-day saint APC governors. First, these governors of the APC stock visited Buhari to persuade him to allow the new and old naira notes to coexist for at least the next six months.
President Muhammadu Buhari requested the governors to give him one week to come up with a response. But before the expiration of the window demanded by the President, El Rufai, Yahaya Bello, and their Zamfara state counterpart went to the Supreme Court to obtain an interim order halting the February 10 deadline fixed by the CBN for the N200, N500, and N1000 notes to cease to be legal tenders.
In the suit brought before the nation’s apex court, the litigants did not on purpose even bother to join the FGN and CBN as concerned parties despite the consequential interim order sought being targeted at them. The Supreme Court granted the interim order without offering the FGN and the CBN the opportunity to be heard or even to be served.
The action of these governors was not only preemptive but also an ambush. Such dark forces also showed their hands in some other ways. They sponsored riots in some parts of southern Nigeria. Some used the bankers to buy off the new banknotes released by CBN just to abridge the policy and ensure they also have access to the old notes on Election Day.
Noticeably, there has been an attendant new notes scarcity and its induced crisis. But much of this naira crisis is orchestrated to convulse the polity and possibly topple it. But the question is: why?
Some forces are actively working to torpedo the current democratic dispensation. The underground activities have since earned the clique ‘the cabal’ appellation and whose actions have culminated in two rising kites – talks about a possible military coup and talk about the Interim national government (ING). These kites are flown to gauge and sensitize Nigerians on alternatives to the coming presidential election.
The cabal is faceless, but some of their members in and out of government at the federal and state levels are beginning to show up. More importantly, most would ask: why would any patriotic Nigerian work against the long-awaited February 2023 presidential election?
The reasons should not be farfetched. The clique wants to retain power at all costs. Apart from the allure of remaining relevant in the affairs of the country, many of them do not have any other forwarding business address except for politics and public office. It gives them unrestrained access to the till and free money of the state, which they dispense as they would.
More importantly, the cabal is saddled with Bola Ahmed Tibunu, who controversially emerged and now proving to be so much of a hard sell, owing to his escalating and degenerating health and integrity challenges.
The Tinubu baggage is not all. The underwhelming performance of the Buhari-led, APC-controlled federal government has also joined the mix in rendering the Tinubu/Shettima ticket impotent.
Days ago, the President addressed the nation, whereupon he revalidated the legal status of N200 to April 10 2023. El Rufai, Ganduje, and the others opposed the order of the President and directed their citizens to continue using the invalidated N500 and N1000 as legal tenders until the Supreme Court decides otherwise.
Interestingly, the Supreme Court order was in the interim and did not have a perpetual lifespan. Since the President’s address came after the adjourned date by the Supreme Court hearing of the substantive suit, the President should be right to act as though the order was not in existence. Again, in history, more than a dozen democracies have had their presidents overrule their supreme courts in the overriding public interest, such as faced by Nigeria at the moment.
The cabals are not sleeping. Some of them went to the Supreme Court on purpose. From all indications, these governors and the rest of the cabals are not derailing the scheduled general election in the interest of the Nigerian masses. The escalating insecurity and crisis in education, the ASUU strikes first lasted nine months; the second lasted eight months, and the governors never acted.
They are acting now because they can only retain power at any level to use the huge sums of old naira they accumulated to shove their candidates down the throat of Nigerians. These governors are scared. They have been sitting on so much corruption and want their cherry-picked successors they want to put in power to cover their track.
If Nigerians understand the game these elite conspirators are playing, they will resist the provocation to further riot on the scarcity of new naira notes. If Nigerians understand that if these governors are denied use of the billions they long accumulated for this February/March General election, they (Nigerians) will be able to decide their new set of leaders.
The gang-up against the naira design policy is a gang-up against Nigerians. The only way the patriotic decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure a free, fair, and credible election will succeed is if the old naira notes that have lost their legal tender status are not deployed on election day by these desperate governors and politicians.
· Dr Law Mefor, a forensic/social psychologist, is a fellow of The Abuja School of Social and Political Thought and can be reached via 09130335723 or [email protected]. He tweets @DrLawMefor.