Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has vowed to expose people in Aso Villa working against the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, and want him to lose the 25 February election.
El-Rufai spoke on Thursday during an interview with TVC News.
He said the currency swap introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was meant to incite voters against the APC and was orchestrated by the forces who are bent on ensuring that the APC presidential candidate loses the election.
The CBN had announced the new naira notes policy last October and initially gave 31 January as the deadline for the use of the old notes. The CBN chief, who announced the policy, had sought to challenge Mr Tinubu for the APC ticket but was forced to withdraw from the race due to public pressure as many questioned the correctness and legality of the bank chief joining active politics.
On Thursday, Mr El-Rufai said the unnamed people hiding behind President Muhammadu Buhari are pursuing their interests by inciting the voters against the APC through the currency swap.
“We are not against the policy, cashless is the way to go, but you can’t do it in a few weeks. Allow time for every farmer, trader, student, and market woman in the village and to the city to be able to take their money in the banks and get new currencies or take the bullion van to them with the security and change their money.
“It is not everywhere that POS work, and it’s not everywhere you have bank branches. Let’s look for reasonable times according to the CBN Act before the legal tender ceases to exist,” the governor said.
Mr Emefiele and President Buhari had defended the policy, saying three months was enough for people with old notes to change them to new ones. However, the scarcity of the new notes has caused suffering for millions of Nigerians with many spending hours in queues to get cash.
Mr El-Rufai had on Wednesday alleged that the Aso Villa cabal working against Mr Tinubu were doing so because their preferred candidate did not win the APC primary. He did not mention any names but there were allegations that close aides of Mr Buhari encouraged Mr Emefiele to seek the APC presidential ticket. After Mr Emefiele withdrew from the race, the aides allegedly backed Senate President Ahmad Lawan who came fourth in the APC primary.
Mr El-Rufai said he believes that the cabal members are only using the currency swap policy, in the name of Mr Buhari, to exact revenge.
He said those people working in the name of the president to inflict pain on Nigerians will be exposed after the election.
“Unmasking them (cabals) is not as joyful as defeating them,” he said. “They will be unmasked in time. We have defeated them when they wanted their people in the national working committee of the APC. We have defeated them when they wanted their own anointed person to be the presidential candidate without due regard, due process or even respect for those of us who are governors, that put the party together, campaign for it and deliver the election twice.”
“We didn’t matter, we are governors and (people saying) governors are corrupt, they are bad, meanwhile, none of them has contested an election and won an election and if they did they won’t win.
“I have been elected twice with over a million votes as governor of Kaduna State, I can claim to speak for the people, (but) none of these (cabals) can. We will come to the unmasking stage; this is not the stage. The stage now is to draw the attention of Nigerians that there are elements that are doing this and they don’t mean well to our party, they want to incite voters against our party so that we lose the election.
“Now once Nigerians know that they will know where the funny decisions are coming from and once the election is done and settled, by the grace of God in about three weeks and I am confident, we are not sleeping, we are going to work hard until 27 February when the election results are out and by the grace of God, Bola Tinubu is elected and other candidates of the APC, then we will unmask them (Cabals),” he said.