New Naira: Who Has the Final Say in A Banana Republic?

Tuoyo Emmanuel Ajuyah
Tuoyo Emmanuel Ajuyah
5 Min Read

‘Don’t Sleep. Wake up, collect your money’ Song by Kizz Daniel didn’t sound like a prophecy when it was released, like the pandemic, nobody could imagine that a day would come when we would have wished we had indeed collected all our monies.

With the Naira scarcity – a remake of the 1984 hellish experience caused by the redesign of the Naira, life is ‘different’ even with cost of everything on the high side the face value of the naira seems to have appreciated, as not only do people now appreciate holding most denominations of the Naira in their names now they even go out to buy it even with the same currency- as they say now, the Naira has risen against the Naira.

As if this ‘hardship’ is not sufficient, Nigerians still have confusion to deal with, while the Old Notes (200, 500 and 1000) were initially scheduled to cease being a legal tender after the 31st of January which was later extended to the 10th of February, some State Governors led by the Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State headed to the Supreme Court to stop this new policy and indeed got the Apex court to suspend the implementation of the new policy at least till 15th of February which was later extended to February 22 in a further adjournment on the earlier mentioned date.

This Court order would have seen both old and new notes being used side by side till at least the 22nd of February but then the Governor of the Central Bank – Godwin Emefiele had come out to remind Nigerians that the old notes had ceased to be a legal tender since the 10th of February which was somewhat confusing.

This Confusion was supposed to be settled with a promised broadcast of the President – Muhamadu Buhari in a scheduled broadcast for early morning of Thursday 16th February only for ‘Baba’ to echo the words of Mr Emefiele while recounting gains of the new policy and explaining the reasons for it but excusing the 200 naira old notes to remain valid till April 10.

At the same time the Supreme Court is restating that both old and new notes of all denominations continue to be valid till it’s Judgement on the 22nd of February and Governor El-Rufai is seen in a viral video talking to people in Hausa language not only assuring the that they can collect the old note but that they also not go to deposit their old notes in the bank and even went further to promise then that after the elections when they have emerged victorious and have resumed they would reverse the policy.

The Question now is – in a country like ours that Femi Falana SAN has described as a Banana Republic who do we obey? Is it the Governor of Kaduna state who is so confident? Or the Governor of the Central Bank who has the autonomy in implementing Monetary Policies?

Or is it the Supreme Court which is the highest Court of the land that is supposed to be infallible or the President of the Federal Republic who has gone against Court Orders and Judgements when they felt they were not in the best interest of the country and ‘nothing happened’?

In a normal environment it would have been automatic to follow the Supreme court Judgement as they are described as infallible not because they are perfect but are perfect because they are infallible but if Falana is right and this is a Banana Republic, who then do we follow?

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