2023: Parties threaten election withdrawal if CBN shifts new naira deadline

Abuja—Thirteen political parties out of the 18 political parties in Nigeria on Monday threatened to withdraw from participating in the 2023 general elections slated for February 25 and March 11, if the Central Bank of Nigeria extends the deadline of February 10 for naira swap.

According to the PUNCH, the parties have declared that they won’t be participating in the elections if the new deadline of February 10, 2023 is shifted again.

The coalition of chairmen of the political parties, who commended the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on the redesign of the N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes, insisted that the policy must stand.

The parties also knocked the Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara state governments for heading to the Supreme Court to get court injunction to extend the deadline for the validity of three old notes.

The National Chairman of the Action Alliance, Kenneth Udeze, who briefed pressmen, said, “We hereby announce that at least 13 out of the 18 political parties in Nigeria will not be interested in the 2023 general elections and indeed we shall withdraw our participation from the electoral process if this currency policies are suspended or cancelled or if the deadline is further shifted.”

It was reported on January 29, two days to the former January 31 deadline, that the CBN extended the deadline for the swapping of old naira notes with the redesigned notes till February 10, 2023, after bowing to pressure last Sunday following many pleas from Nigerians across different walks of life.

Meanwhile, the governments of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara state have dragged the Federal Government to the Supreme Court, seeking a restraining order to stop the full implementation of the naira redesign policy initiated by the Central Bank.

In the suits as plaintiffs are the three attorney generals and commissioners of justice for the three states, while the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, is the sole respondent.

The three northern states in a motion ex-parte are urging the court to grant them an interim injunction stopping the Federal Government either by itself or acting through the CBN, the commercial banks or its agents from carrying out its plan of terminating the February 10 timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the naira would cease to be legal tender.

The CBN on October 26, 2022 had announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. The president subsequently unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) had assured Nigerians on Friday that in seven days time from then, he would address the woes associated with accessing the redesigned notes, promising to resolve the crisis within the stimulated time.

This is as protests have broken out in various cities across the country, with many angry about the pains and hardship citizens are being subjected to in order to have access to the new notes.

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