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Currency Swap: Kaduna Gov El-Rufai accuses Atiku of trying to benefit from pains of Nigerians

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The Kaduna governor, Nasir El-Rufai has accused the presidential candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar of trying to gain undue political mileage from the pains being inflicted on the people as a result of the ongoing process of redesigning the currency.

El-Rufai accused the PDP candidate who previously called for the extension of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) deadline, of attempting to gain sympathy votes.

“But this week, because of a mere extension of 10 days, he’s turning round to say don’t extend; it means there is something. He’s clearly benefiting from this pain Nigerians are going through every day till today,” the Kaduna Governor said of Atiku.

The PDP flag bearer had in the past called on the CBN to extend the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes for the newly redesigned ones to ease the pressure on the people.

However, in what appears to be a  volte-face, Atiku this week said the extension granted by the CBN to enable Nigerians to swap their old naira notes for the new banknotes was unnecessary.

In his reaction to the negative impact the currency policy of the CBN is having on the people, El-Rufai said the measure by the CBN ws meant to incite Nigerians against the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and cause its defeat at the February 25 election.

“I have reports that people in Kaduna cannot buy food and they cannot sell because there are no currency notes around. But the presidential candidate of the PDP is saying don’t extend because he’s gaining from it.

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“The incitement of people against the APC is in his view to his advantage and this incitement is stronger in northern Nigeria where Atiku is to benefit from,’’ he submitted.

El-Rufai further observed that the presidential candidates of the other parties, except the New Nigeria Peoples Party, could leverage on their close relationship and ownership of banks to get cash from the financial institutions.

Faulting the timeline given by the CBN for the currency swap, El-Rufai said, “The question is: Is a few weeks a reasonable time in a country of one million square kilometers and over 200m people? How many bank branches are in Nigeria? How many ATMs?

“In Borno State, there are only two local governments out of 27 with a bank branch. In Yobe, only two local governments out of 17 have a bank branch.

“Even a cosmopolitan state relatively in the north like Kaduna has two local governments that have no bank branches and 10 with only one bank branch. So, everyone in that local government must come to that one bank branch?  And this PoS that you are seeing in every street of Lagos; do you think you have PoS in every street of Kubau, Ikara and Makarfi which are local government headquarters in my state?’’

The governor also accused some element in the presidency of deliberately inciting Nigerians against the candidate of the ruling party, Bola Tinubu in order to cause his defeat at the forthcoming election.

El-Rufai vowed that those opposed to the APC presidential candidate would be defeated and also unmasked in time.

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