By Austen Akhagbeme:
The diminutive governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, seems to be leading the pack, being the most vociferous of them all. He is firing from all cylinders to assert that the ongoing cash policy of the Buhari-led administration has a sinister motive other than what we were told.
And he’s quite emotive about it, the reason he went on air to counter the position of the nation’s President on the matter shortly after his nationwide broadcast. This is quite daring and audacious on the part of El-Rufai who until recently, was seen as a member of the Aso Rock cabal and the President’s kitchen cabinet.
The issue at stake has two main tributaries to it: those that seem to oppose the position of the apex court of the land that called for the redesigned Naira notes to be used alongside the old notes pending when the motion on notice is decided (on whose side the President belongs) and those that insist that the position of the Supreme Court is a subsisting order that must be respected.
This knotty issue has brought to the fore the deep crack within the APC top echelon and it is threatening to further aggravate and erode the relative peace within the party since the completion of her controversial primaries last year.
There seems to be a novelty of error and bad precedence being set in all of these. That sitting state executives can brazenly issue statements that are at variance with that of the President and commander-in-chief on a policy issue before the Supreme Court, such as was the case with Kaduna and Jigawa state, is one.
That a political party can be so uncompromisingly divided into interest camps, factions and fractions within itself and go across to another opposition political party in search of solidarity, all in the name of frustrating an uncomfortable policy, is another.
There’s the legal angle to it; whether or not the President, himself, has not dishonoured the supreme court by his decision to stop the use of the N500 and N1000 notes as legal tender when the supreme court has stated otherwise. There is a legal argument, too, that questions the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on this matter since the case is not directly between the federal government and the state but that of an institution–the Central Bank.
Whether we like it or not, the ruling party is overheating the system and this is not good for an electoral year. This is why so many people doubt the ability and willingness of the government to deliver an election in a free and fair manner come next week.
In all of these, there must be a convergence of opinions, decisions and intentions on the part of all parties involved in this crisis in the best interest of all Nigerians.
The safety of our nascent democracy and the continued existence in peace as a nation must be considered above party or personal interests. Let APC put their house in order and stop playing politics with people’s well-being. This cash policy has truly brought untold hardship to almost everyone. And most importantly, the world is expecting us to conduct our elections next week. To every Nigerian, this is sacrosanct.
- Austen Akhagbeme is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online