The Connected Development (CODE) has said that the lingering cash crunch occasioned by the naira redesign and swap policy may worsen vote buying and make this year’s February 25, and March 11, general elections “transactional polls”.
The Chief Executive of CODE, Malam Hamzat Lawal, said this on Wednesday at the formal launch of an Election Intelligence (EI) platform, “Uzabe”, and a pre-election security assessment report titled: “Same Currency for Violence: Troubling Elections”.
He said, “The coming elections may be worse in terms of monetisation and can lead to them being transactional elections as the naira crisis may be exploited by politicians and voters made to sell their votes due to the current cash crunch in the country ahead of the elections.”
He further said that the launch of the pre-election security assessment and electoral intelligence technology was to uphold the integrity of the elections.
The event also witnessed a “drive meeting” of collaboration between CSOs and the media for election coverage.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was later signed between CODE and media organisations to facilitate collaborative efforts towards tackling fake news, misinformation and disinformation that have the potential to significantly impact the elections.
Meanwhile, the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has urged the President of Nigeria, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to reconsider his stance on the old naira notes to prevent further crisis across the country.
Akeredolu disagreed with the President’s declaration that the old N1000 and N500 notes are no longer legal tender while extending the validity of the old N200 note till April 10, and claimed that those who advised the President on the matter were mischievous.
In a statement titled “Mr. President should halt this seamless drift,” Akeredolu called for the President to revoke the controversial naira policy, which he said was unpopular, fruitless, and counterproductive, and which had a Supreme Court order and was causing unrest across the country ahead of the general election. He appealed to the President to act as a statesman at this crucial moment and proffer practicable solutions to the crisis, rather than project partisan interests.
Akeredolu called for the co-existence of both old and new notes until normalcy returns, which he said would be a fitting parting gift for the people of the country, particularly the downtrodden, who feel the negative impact of the poorly implemented policy.
He criticized the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria for his mediocre and mischievous implementation of the policy, which he said was defeating the good programs of the Federal Government designed to alleviate poverty. He urged the President to rescind the decision, which he claimed bore the insidious seeds of potential conflagration in the land.