Naira redesign: 3 state governments drag FG to Supreme Court as 13 parties threaten to withdraw from 2023 elections

Thirteen political parties out of the 18 political parties in Nigeria have threatened to withdraw from participating in the February 25 and March 11, 2023, general elections, if the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) extends the February 10 deadline for the naira swap.

This was made known on Monday by the National Chairman of the Action Alliance, Kenneth Udeze, on behalf of the coalition of chairmen of political parties, during a press briefing, saying that the parties won’t be interested in the elections if the new deadline of February 10, 2023, is shifted again as demanded by APC governors.

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.

13 parties threaten to withdraw

  • Udeze during the briefing 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 these currency policies are suspended or cancelled or if the deadline is further shifted.”

3 states drag FG to Supreme Court over naira scarcity

Meanwhile, Kaduna, Zamfara, and Kogi States have dragged the Federal Government to Supreme Court over the scarcity of old and new Naira notes due to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s naira redesign policy.

The state governments who said they are worried by the effects the CBN naira redesign policy is having on the residents of their states, are seeking a restraining order by the Supreme Court to compel the government and CBN from implementing the policy.

In an ex-parte motion filed on their behalf by their lawyer, AbdulHakeem Uthman Mustapha (SAN), the 3 state governors are urging the Supreme 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 ending the timeframe within which the now older versions of the 200, 500 and 1000 denominations of the Naira may no longer be legal tender on February 10, 2023.

  • Mustapha said, “Unless this Honourable Court intervenes, the Government and people of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara State will continue to go through a lot of hardship and would ultimately suffer great loss as a result of the insufficient and unreasonable time within which the Federal Government is embarking on the ongoing currency redesign policy.’’

The Plaintiffs in the suit are the 3 Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice of the 3 states, while the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), is the sole Respondent.

The states said there has been a shortage in the supply of the new naira notes in Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States and that citizens who have dutifully deposited their old naira notes have increasingly found it difficult and sometimes next to impossible to access new naira notes to go about their daily activities.

The states said the CBN policy is imposing a lot of hardship on Nigerians and insisted that the ten-day extension by the Federal Government is still insufficient to address the challenges of Nigerians swapping their old Naira notes for new ones.

For the record

  • The CBN had on January 29, 2023, extended its January 31 deadline for the swapping of old naira notes with the redesigned new naira notes till February 10, 2023, after bowing to pressure last Sunday following many pleas from Nigerians across different walks of life.
  • The CBN on October 26, 2022, 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 a January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.
  • Following his meeting with APC Governors, who called for his intervention in the crisis, President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday, February 3, 2023, asked for a 7-day period to address the problems associated with the exercise as well as take a decision.
  • Protests are reported to 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.