Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has claimed a cabal in the Presidency was backing the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
This is as he advised President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider the manner in which the currency redesign policy is being implemented so far because it is anti-people.
Wike spoke on Friday at Comprehensive Secondary School field, Ibaka Town, Okrika Island during the Rivers State PDP campaign rally flag-off for Okrika local government area of the State.
The governor said recent events have vindicated him over his initial public statement that the PDP presidential candidate and his supporters boasted that they do not need the G-5 governors to win election because they had been assured of victory by a cabal in the presidency.
He said: “I said they have been given assurance, but this election is not going to be based on that cabal assurance. It is on the people’s assurance.”
Wike, who insisted that PDP will still need Rivers State to win, said: “Whether you like it or not, you must need Rivers State. If you don’t need Rivers State, you must fail. If you say you don’t want us, you’ll fail. There is no two ways about it.”
Speaking on the Naira swap, the governor maintained that those who recommended what he called an apparently anti-people monetary policy do not love the President Buhari and were bent of tarnishing his legacy.
He urged President Buhari to take a critical look at the socioeconomic chaos and hardship that the exercise has caused, and revisit the policy in order to curb the pains of Nigerians.
Wike said: “This policy is anti-people. The new Naira note is not there. Even though I have money in my account, I cannot get N10,000. I cannot go and buy fuel. Who is losing? Is it not the masses? Is it not the people?”
The governor, who suggested that the President should stop listening to those who advise him on the monetary policy under the guise that it will curb vote buying, said those advisors do not mean well for Nigerians and cannot feel their sufferings.
He also dismissed the claim that the policy was being implemented to fight politicians and corruption, and wondered if such goals can be achieved within the barely four months left for the President Buhari administration.
Wike said: “You’re merely fighting against the poor people. Mr President, I know the pressure, but please since two of us are going the same time, this policy, it has nothing to fight corruption at all. It has nothing to fight politicians.
“This policy is aimed to suffer the people who elected us to govern over them. Our business is not to make the people to suffer. We all know how to fight corruption. We all know how to fight politicians. This particular one , it does not come in at all.”
The governor expressed dismay that people are now prevented from accessing money lodged in their bank accounts and small scale commercial activities grounded for lack of cash.
He stated that there is reduced cash flow in circulation and even the redesigned Naira notes were hardly available to the citizenry.
Wike said: “I know Mr President has good intention, but there are these people who believe they know more than everybody, they go and put the country in total chaos and that is what we are suffering now.”
The governor stressed the futility of presenting credit cards to pay for food items bought from an elderly woman who depends on daily sales to raise money in the rural areas with prevailing illiteracy.
He stated that there is nowhere in the world where such currency change has been done conclusively within six months.
Wike said: “I have never seen anywhere in this world where you change money within six months and say no more use of old money. It doesn’t work. It takes time and you have to prepare. Look at our economy, look at the rural areas, the level of illiteracy in the country.”
The governor, therefore, urged the President to endeavour to avert aggravating the security challenge across the country and pushing Nigerians deeper into economic hardship.
He said: “Can you imagine the problem you’re causing for us. As we are here, the level of insecurity will increase. We can’t get security agencies money any longer for them to use and pay those who are in the field.
“Even the CIA they carry cash for operation. Even NIA, they carry cash for operation. But here, we can’t even give our security N1million.”