‘My Party Will Lose This Election ‘- APC Jittery Over ‘Hardship’ In The North Caused By Scarcity Of New Naira Notes
… As Ganduje
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is facing an uphill task in convincing voters across the 19 northern states to vote for it in the 2023 elections due to alleged hardship caused by the scarcity of new Naira notes across the region.
Stakeholders of the party and opinion leaders in the North who spoke with our Correspondent over the weekend revealed that people have turned their anger on the party as they face difficulty in taking the old naira notes to the bank and accessing new ones.
It was gathered that the issue of accessing the new naira note in the part of the country with the highest number of unbanked people has worsened life and crippled business activities across the regions.
This is as Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari to stay away from the state in his scheduled state visit as his security cannot be guaranteed.
Ganduje said this is not the best of times to visit the state as people are angry over the new Central Bank of Nigeria policy concerning the country’s currency.
In a statement issued by Ganduje’s Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, on Saturday, he said the Governor revealed to scholars, legislators, political leaders and business community in the state at Government House, Kano on Friday, that the new currency policy has brought untold hardship to the people.
“As we are waiting for this important visit, we found ourselves in this situation, which puts citizens into untold hardship.
“For security purposes, we wrote to the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Kano be postponed,” he quoted the governor as telling the gathering.
Ganduje added that, “We got an acknowledgement copy of the letter. People are really suffering because of this policy,” the governor said.
“There are no banks in most of our rural communities. How these people get new Naira notes is of great concern.
“Just look at what is happening in our urban areas, people go and spend hours upon hours in banks. without any assurances of getting the new notes.”
The governor lamented that those at the point of sales have been cut off as people cannot transact business.
“This problem affects all of us. Therefore our voice must be heard in all nooks and crannies. We are a commercial hub. As such our position must be loud and clear,” the governor said.
A former House of Representatives aspirant on the platform of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, for Nasarawa Federal Constituency, Kano State, Abubakar Mustapha, in a telephone interview, said “Kano is largely a rural state. It’s a commercial hub of the North. We are suffering here.
“Most people here don’t do banking. They have not opened their accounts so they would lose money. The new naira notes are not even there.
“Everywhere you go there’s hardship. And all they do is blame APC. They say they can’t vote for a party which would be in power and kill them again.”
A member of the APC in Katsina State, Maina Garwa, who also spoke via telephone with our Correspondent said flatly, “My party has failed. It would lose this election insha Allah! What is this?”
Garwa, who’s a member of the APC Katsina Elders Forum further lamented that, “You cut people off? Do they know people in the villages don’t bank? But they do petty business.
“People are crying about what they will do with their old money. The new ones are not available. We are tired. We can’t explain to them the reason for them to vote APC.
“The APC would lose the president’s state. We have lost. They can’t vote for us,” he added.
A former Zonal Leader of the defunct Rebuild Nigeria Party, RBNP, and now an APC and Tinubu canvasser, Ali Ari, said Gombe is facing the worst possible situation.
“We are poor. Our people do menial jobs and do petty trading. They don’t know what a bank is. You expect them to do what now?
“It would take a long time to convince them to open an account and deposit money. Most of them are in the farm and bushes where their houses are.
“They only go to semi-city centres for business and return. They farm and sell, that’s all they do.
“They can’t get the new notes now. We are suffering. So to convince them to vote for us, the APC, is hard my brother. We are tired of begging them.
“If APC wins this election, it is the greatest miracle,” he said.
A former RBNP Zonal Leader from Sokoto State, Yakubu Musa, now an APC member said, “What you see in Sokoto is what you see in all the states in the North. Most people are poor and do small businesses. They keep their money at home to feed.
“Our campaign now is hard. We don’t even know what to tell people again. It’s hard. I doubt if they would vote for us because people are no longer collecting old naira notes and they can’t get new ones.
“It is terrible,” he lamented.
Few days ago, the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, alleged that the new currency policy and the scarcity of fuel were acts of sabotage.
Speaking in Abeokuta, Tinubu alleged that, “We will use our PVCs to take over the government from them. If they like, let them create a fuel crisis, even if they say there is no fuel, we will trek to vote. They are full of mischief; they could say there is no fuel.
“They have been scheeming to create a fuel crisis, but forget about it. Relax, I Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed.
“Whoever wants to eat the honey embedded in a mountain won’t worry about the axe. Is that not so? And if you want to eat palm kernel, you would bring stone and use it to break it, then the kernel will come out.
“Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only they know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote and we will win.
“Even if they changed the ink on naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to naught. We are going to win. Those in the PDP will lose,” the APC candidate said.
The allegation which was said not to be well received in government quarters is said to be feelers the APC candidate has received from the North, where he is banking on key votes from Kano, Katsina and Kaduna, three of the five states with the highest number of votes in the country.