Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 election, has been criticised by opposition elements for his alleged contradictory comments on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Naira redesign policy.
On Sunday, February 19, 2023, Atiku appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allow commercial banks to accept deposits of the old naira notes.
Over two weeks ago, Atiku backed the currency redesign policy, advising the apex bank not to extend the February 10 deadline for the demonetisation of the old naira notes.
The former vice-president also said any further extension would destroy the purpose and objective of the policy.
“I am totally in support of building a cashless economy and reducing the amount of cash in our economy,” Atiku had said.
But in a social media post on Sunday, he called on the CBN to release the new notes as “a matter of urgency.
“This, he said, would ease the suffering of the masses in getting access to their “legitimately earned money. The CBN currency policy is hurting ordinary citizens and those who legitimately earned their money,” Atiku said.
“The apex bank should, as a matter of urgency, allow commercial banks to join the CBN in the collection of the deposits of old N500 and N1000 notes.
“The new currency should be immediately made available in sufficient quantities to alleviate the suffering of the masses.
“I assure you that when we come to power by the mandate of your votes, the PDP administration will not allow any Nigerian who legitimately earned their money to lose a single kobo of it. You can take that promise to the bank because our aim is to create prosperity and not to impoverish our people.”
Reacting to Atiku’s change in stance, Festus Keyamo, the spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), slammed the PDP candidate for being ‘double-faced’, and ‘playing with the lives of Nigerians’.
“Check out the changing positions of a two-faced candidate always playing politics with the lives of Nigerians, just like he played politics with the gruesome murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto last year,” Keyamo wrote on his verified Twitter handle on Monday morning with accompanying screengrabs of Atiku’s statements.
In a similar vein, Omoyele Sowore, the African Action Congress (AAC) presidential candidate, insinuated that Atiku is not a real leader.
Sowore wrote on Twitter on Monday: “Opportunitistic @atiku thought he could capitalise on the poverty-inducing Naira Design to win election.
“Any real leader would have known that “naira design” fraud was gonna to hurt poor Nigerians. Reason I keep saying there is no difference. He’s coming to sell everything.”