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Aso Rock Watch

ASO ROCK WATCH: An interim government plot? Two other talking points



Last week, the presidency distanced itself from rumours peddled by politicians that an interim government is being planned ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s handover date – May 29, 2023.

We reviewed two other stories from the seat of power, Aso Rock Villa, within the week under observation.

1. An interim government plot?

On February 17, the presidency stated that there was no truth in the speculations sweeping across the country about plans of an interim government, noting that politicians who are afraid of losing elections spread such false information.

“Let us clearly, specifically and emphatically state that there is absolutely no truth to the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is working towards an interim government or even worse…” a statement from presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, read in part.

The denial from the presidency helps to douse the growing tension in some quarters.
Nonetheless, the rumours reflect the widening division, and internal wrangling within Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the frontline warriors are governors from the party.

With the country in a most volatile state, and the elections just days away, the President must show enough leadership to keep the country from imploding.

Two other talking points

2. Buhari’s directive on old N200 notes

President Buhari, on February 16, directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allow the old N200 notes remain legal tender till April 10, 2023.

Read also:ASO ROCK WATCH: As Buhari tasks academics on credible polls. Two other talking points

The President gave the directive during a nationwide broadcast to address the scarcity of Naira notes in the country.

“Old N200 banknotes should be released back to the public with the new N200, N500 and N1,000 and from February 10 to April 10; the old N200 will cease to be legal tender. We will continue to monitor the implementation to ensure Nigerians are not burdened,” he said.

Buhari’s directive may, yet again, have shown him as disrespectful of the rule of law, given the exparte order made by the Supreme Court restraining the CBN from stripping the old Naira notes of their legal tender status.

Sadly, it is a manifestation of the uncoordinated manner in which the Federal Government is handling the Naira redesign policy to the detriment of poor Nigerians.

However, though there are arguments about the President’s power to act in overriding national interest, the intra-class war typically shows that when the chips are down, the general interest of the masses may be sacrificed for narrow political gains.

3. Eyes on security operatives

On February 13, President Buhari reminded the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and military chiefs that Nigerians and the global community have their eyes fixed on them as the election draws nearer.

Buhari stated this while unveiling critical operational assets procured by the NPF, at the Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja.

He said: “…I call on the IGP (Usman Baba) and indeed, all law enforcement agencies that will be complementing the Police in the election security process to note that the eyes of the nation and the global community will be on you all.”

Buhari’s statement serves as a worthy reminder to law enforcement agents who will be deployed to various polling units, and parts of the country that peace, and order must be kept during and after the election.

It seeks to persuade them on how important their actions, and inactions will impact Nigeria, and even impinge the country’s reputation before the international community that would be observing elections.

All said, the President must work to leave a legacy of a transparent, free, fair and credible elections.

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