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SIX days to the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls, candidates and political parties are devising ways to mitigate the effects of the raging Naira scarcity on their electoral quests.

Currently, there is tension in the polity on account of the scarcity of the new N200, N500 and 1000 notes, which has been worsened by fuel scarcity.

Since the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, introduced the redesigned Naira and cash limit policy of N500,000 and N5,000,000 a week for individuals and corporate organisations, respectively, many politicians have been kept on their toes.

A host of politicians mainly of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, have been kicking against the policy with some claiming that the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is the prime target of the policy.

Apart from checking vote buying, the Federal Government said the policy is meant to fight inflation and insecurity, especially kidnapping for ransom.

The deadline for the use of the old notes was initially fixed for January 31 but the CBN later extended it to February 10.

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, extended the use of the old N200 note to April 10, declaring that the old N500 and N1000 notes ceased to be legal tender on February 10, as affirmed by the CBN.

The president’s declaration is not in tandem with an interim order of the Supreme Court, which restrained the Federal Government from implementing the February 10 deadline for use of the old notes based on the suit filed by the governments of Kogi, Zamfara and Kaduna states. The apex court fixed hearing of the suit for February 22.

The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa, on Thursday, lamented that the Naira scarcity was hurting him and other Politicians.

Specifically, Doguwa, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the APC, said he needs N70m “in hard copy” for this election and it is not available due to the Naira crunch.

Doguwa lamented that the naira scarcity caused by the new policy would affect the electioneering expenses of politicians.

The lawmaker, who expressed his reservation over the new naira policy after a meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, lamented that the policy is affecting the APC.

Citing Section 88(4) of the Electoral Act, Doguwa said: “I need to have this N70m in hard copy. That is the position of the law and as I speak to you, I don’t have it.”

Doguwa noted that all politicians, irrespective of political affiliations, would be affected by the new policy.

“The policy in itself is against the ruling party because Nigerians that are not happy will look at it as a policy of the government of the APC.

“30-40 days to elections you come out with a policy that is not widely accepted by Nigerians, whether we like it or not that will be seen as the programme of the government. So those of us in the APC are not happy about it,” he said.

Plots to beat Naira scarcity

Despite the complaints of politicians, Sunday Vanguard gathered that a host of them were “forward looking” and had mapped out measures to navigate the Naira crunch.

Their moves, the CBN lamented, last week, is partly responsible for Naira scarcity because they are “mopping up” the few redesigned Naira released into circulation by the apex bank.

The Naira mop up is to deepen the measures they are taking to win the election that has become tougher because of the introduction of Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, by the INEC to check multiple voting as well as ensure that the real owner of a Permanent Voters Card, PVC, votes.

Before now, some politicians had embarked on expanded stomach infrastructure through the appointment of more aides; ensuring that their faithful got PVCs; and denying perceived supporters of opponents their PVCs.

On Election Day, Sunday Vanguard gathered that part of the measures will be to suppress votes and buy votes in opponents’ strongholds.

Asked the possibility of “compensating” their supporters on Election Day, one grassroots politician said: “we are politicians, we know the game and how to play it.”

Stomach infrastructure

With rising poverty in the land, some politicians have embarked on fresh welfare packages to win the support of would-be voters.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that many politicians are toeing the line of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, on a higher scale.

Wike, recently, appointed over 200,000 special political appointees and placed them on a monthly allowance of N30,000 to N50,000.

A top leader of one of the political parties told Sunday Vanguard: “Wike appointed 200,000 aides. We are doing a similar thing on a larger scale. We mobilised over one million people for the voter registration and ensured they got their PVCs. The 2023 elections will be different from past elections because of the BVAS and redesigning of the naira. In the past, an officer in charge of some polling units in a Ward may be given N500,000 or one million nairas. From the money, he will take care of agents of the other parties, security agents and INEC officials and we will take charge of the process.

“With BVAS, things have changed. But we are politicians and we know how to play the game. We have mobilized real people, real voters, up to one million in some LGAs. We have started giving them allowances of N10,000 every month and it will continue till the end of the election. We transfer the money into their bank accounts.”

‘Naira scarcity will affect vote sellers more’

Agreeing that the Naira redesign policy has affected politicians, another politician said voters would be affected the more.

“In the past, depending on location, politicians buy votes with N5000, N10,000 or even N20,000, if there was stiff opposition. Now things have changed. With the scarcity of Naira and worsening poverty, votes may be bought with N1000. You have seen what people are passing through to survive and how difficult it is to get cash. Some of them may even sell their votes for N200,” he said.

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Wike Notified PDP Before Accepting Ministerial Offer – NEC Members



“Before this appointment came, I wrote to the (PDP) National Chairman. I wrote to the minority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate. I wrote to the zonal chairman of the party and my state chairman.

“I wrote to my governor and all of them wrote me back and said ‘accept.’ I have my evidence documented. Forget these reggae dancers. I call them reggae dancers because when you have lost your opportunity, you have lost because of arrogance and impunity.”

Meanwhile, the PDP NEC members confirmed that Wike in a letter addressed to the party’s acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, informed the party of a ministerial offer for him to serve in Tinubu’s cabinet.

“Before this appointment came, I wrote to the (PDP) National Chairman. I wrote to the minority leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate. I wrote to the zonal chairman of the party and my state chairman.

“I wrote to my governor and all of them wrote me back and said ‘accept.’ I have my evidence documented. Forget these reggae dancers. I call them reggae dancers because when you have lost your opportunity, you have lost because of arrogance and impunity.”

Meanwhile, the PDP NEC members confirmed that Wike in a letter addressed to the party’s acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, informed the party of a ministerial offer for him to serve in Tinubu’s cabinet.

Abdullahi told our correspondent in an interview on Friday that Wike sent a letter to PDP acting chairman before accepting Tinubu’s offer. He noted that Wike in the letter informed Damagum that he was going to “answer President Tinubu’s clarion call” and requested for approval.

He stated, “Before he accepted the appointment of the governing party, Governor Wike decided to accept the offer after informing the party. In other words, he had written to the party stating his position. But the party did not respond to him, whether to confirm its approval for him to accept the appointment or for him not to take the position. What we just did was to keep mum and watch events.

“In the letter he wrote to the party, Wike explained that he was going to answer the clarion call by the President and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Therefore, the party has not taken a position as to whether or not that will be in its interest.”

When asked why the party kept mum on the issue, the party’s deputy spokesperson said, “Because we were indifferent. The letter was just to inform the party. You can tell from the wording in the letter that his mind was made up. He routed the letter through the PDP Vice Chairman, South-South, Chief Dan Orbih, to the acting national chairman, explaining that this is the time to shun party affiliation to work for a united and prosperous Nigeria.”

Also, a member of the said, “Wike wrote all those he listed, including Damagum”.

Confiding in our correspondent, the member said, “They cannot deny it; they were all informed. He informed them that Tinubu wanted to form a government of national unity and competence and he gave him a ministerial offer.”

Responding to a question on whether the party gave him approval, the source said, “I’m not aware, but to be honest, can any of these people tell him not to accept the offer?”

Call for expulsion

Meanwhile, the Deputy National Youth Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, Timothy Osadolor, has reiterated his call for the expulsion of the minister over what he termed anti-party activities.

He said the youth wing of the party believed there should be no sacred cows and that continued indulgence of anti-party activities among members would send wrong signals to committed members of the party.

Osadolor in an interview with Saturday PUNCH said, “I’m of the school of thought that former governor Wike should be expelled from the party until he purges himself of the anti-party spirit that has taken over him. For the youth wing of the party, we believe that discipline should be instilled in all members without exception when they err. There should be no sacred cows.

“We believe strongly that the party will stand to gain more when it shows it does not support anti-party activities from members, especially senior members of the party. Wike has shown he is against PDP and therefore he should not claim to have her interest at heart.”

NWC divided – Ex-gov

A two-time former governor from the North-West has expressed concern over the division in the party’s National Working Committee over Atiku and Wike.

The former governor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Wike and his group were instrumental in the victory of some national officers of the party and that while many fell out with him for working against the party, some remained loyal to him.

The former governor said, “The two leaders (Atiku and Wike) are dividing the leadership of the party with their utterances and this is not good for us as a party in opposition,” as he warned that the future of the party might be worse than it is currently if urgent steps were not taken to address what he called the leadership gap in the party.

He added, “The party is facing an uncertain future. As a leader of the party, I am shocked that Mr Umar Damagum (the acting national chairman) is yet to present his plan for the party before the stakeholders. He is torn between his loyalty to Atiku and Wike. As things stand, things would only get worse because either Atiku or Wike must give way for the party to breathe.

“My stand is that the leadership of the party should stand its ground and deal with those who worked against the party. If this is not done, discipline will be difficult to enforce in the future.”

A former National Secretary of the party, Ibrahim Tsauri, however urged party faithful to be patient, noting that the Supreme Court would soon give a final judgment on the election petition, to enable the party to decide on the next line of action. “Like I always say, no single individual is big enough to kill the PDP, which is the only organised and truly national party in Nigeria. We will deal with these issues at the appropriate time,” he added.


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Kogi Labour Party Denies LG Chairmen Defection To APC



The Labour Party in Kogi State has debunked the rumours making the round that 21 local government chairmen of the party have defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Addressing newsmen at the party’s secretariat in Lokoja, the Publicity Secretary,  Idakwo Emmanuel said that there was no iota of truth in the rumours adding that it was an act of desperation on the part of APC.

“The level of desperacy of the ruling party is despicable and regrettably lugubrious,” he said.

According to him, “The campaign of Labour Party in Kogi State was flagged off by Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate and national leader of the part. The national chairman Julius Abure and other NWC members in attendance were also in attendance.

“Obviously the silence of our party is loud and terrifying to the ruling party as unknown and unidentifiable individuals are now sponsored by them to deceive the masses claiming to be Labour Party local government chairmen.

“I hereby state without equivocation that the structure of the Labour Party is intact and solidly working hard to rescue our dear state, and our move as a party is organic with genuine supporters and members.”

He said that the media and audience following must reject all individuals who are not card-carrying members of the party.


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NNPP Blames Kwankwaso As Tribunal Sacks Kano Gov



The New Nigeria People’s Party has blamed a former presidential candidate of the party, Rabiu Kwankwaso of being responsible for the loss of Kano governor, Yusuf Abba at the State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

The party insisted that Kwankwaso allegedly sold out NNPP to the ruling All Progressives Congress in order to negotiate for a ministerial slot in the President Bola Tinubu-led government.

The Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal had on Wednesday, sacked Abba, and declared the APC candidate, Nasir Gawuna, winner of the March 18 governorship poll.

The three-man panel, led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, further withdrew the Certificate of Return the Independent National Electoral Commission presented to Yusuf.

Stating reasons why the Kano governor was sacked, the panel said the margin of votes scored by NNPP was invalid and not in compliance with the 2022 electoral act.

The judges deducted 165,663 votes from the NNPP, adding that the ballot papers of the 165,663 were not stamped or signed and therefore declared invalid.

Reacting, One of the Chieftain of NNPP in Southwest, Alhaji Abass Akande Onilewura, in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday, said the loss of the party in Kano corroborated the anti-party allegation raised against Kwankwaso.

Onilewura stressed that the former NNPP flagbearer’s alleged involvement in anti-party activities led to the big loss the party is facing with the declaration of the Tribunal in Kano.

He insisted that Kwankwaso did not follow due process in the selection of some of the governorship candidates for the party, which reportedly led to the filing of unpopular or unacceptable flagbearers.

He added, “This loss is a big one for us at NNPP and it only happened because of the selfishness of Kwankwaso who sold the party to the highest bidder.

“While we are still waiting for the Certified True Copy of the tribunal judgment, it is important for the world to know that this would not have happened if Kwankwaso had allowed due process and given the ticket to the most qualified candidate but his inlaw.

“Our investigation also showed that the continuous engagement of Kwankwaso with APC at some point gave room for them to discover loopholes which were later used against the Kano governor to secure victory for the opposition.

“It is unfortunate that some of us sweat to get the party to where it is today, only for someone like Kwankwaso to come and make all our efforts a waste. We are happy that someone like that has been expelled from this great party.

“We also want to use the avenue to warn him to stay clear of NNPP, we don’t want a betrayal in our party and we would do anything humanly possible to secure our party from hijackers who are more concerned about personal gain.

“I will also urge our members across the country to remain calm because a new leadership has taken over the party and we would do everything to restore the glory of our party. NNPP will come out to become a strong voice and opposition that would stand for justice, equity, and good governance.”


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