Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has pointed out the views of presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar on the cash swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) show he is a wicked man with no concern for the poor masses.
He said by asking the CBN not to extend the deadline beyond February 10, the former Vice President has confirmed he has no regard or sympathy for the poor masses who are mostly affected by the policy.
Atiku initially backed the extension of the deadline but called on the CBN some days ago not to extend it beyond February 10.
El-Rufai said the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) is not against the cash swap and cashless policies but bothered by the hardship poor Nigerians are going through across the nation.
Speaking yesterday on Journalist hang-out, a popular show on TVC, the Kaduna Governor said: “If you look at the statement from the other party after I spoke on the cash swap, we are not against the policy. Cashless is the way to go. We have no problem with it, but you don’t do it in a few weeks. Allow time for every farmer, trader, student, market women in the villages to be able to take their money to the bank and get new currency or go and meet them where they are doing their business, take the bullion vans with security to them and change their money for them with ease. POS won’t work in some places where there is network challenge. Let us sit down and look at this thing and give a reasonable time to do this thing.”
On Atiku’s rejection of further calls for extension of the policy, the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) said it shows massive disdain for suffering of the masses.
According to him: “The fact that the Presidential candidate of the PDP, who last week issued statement appealing for extension because he wanted to get sympathy now turning around to sing another song speaks volume. He wanted to come out to speak against our party and the President.
“Now, with the extension of 10 days, he is turning round to say that the CBN should not extend means something. It shows clearly that he is benefiting from the pain Nigerians are going through at the moment. I have seen protest in Lagos today. I have reports of people in Kaduna that cannot buy food; they cannot sell because there is no cash, and yet, the PDP’s presidential candidate says don’t extend because he is gaining from it.”
He said Atiku was hoping to benefit from the pains of Nigerians on the policy.
“The incitement of the people against the government of APC is a gain to him. This incitement is stronger in the North where Atiku hopes to benefit from. Secondly, we should know that the presidential candidates of the other parties, like the NNPP, have strong relationships with some banks and even own some. They can get the currency while we can’t.
“I want Nigerians to understand very clearly that it is unfortunate that somebody who advocated for extension last week is now saying don’t extend. If he has the poor at heart, the farmers, the market women and men, the villagers, he won’t say that.”
He countered Atiku’s argument that the cash swap will aid vote-buying, saying: “If Atiku Abubakar or anybody is saying that if you extend, there will be vote-buying. Is Naira the only currency with which you can buy votes? You can go across to Niger and buy cefa if the dollar is too big. And after elections, cefa can be converted into Naira. That is not the solution to vote-buying.