The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), on Thursday, raised concerns over an alleged plot by some powerful persons to thwart the 2023 general elections by making the new Naira notes scarce and increasing violence on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices.
The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to absolve himself by reclaiming his statesmanship by standing against any machination against the conduct of credible elections and peaceful handover.
CNG spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, disclosed this in Abuja, at the press briefing, saying the unfolding of these events has negatively affected ordinary Nigerians and potentially frustrated interest in the elections.
He said the timing for the implementation of the new Naira notes was ill-timed and poses a huge threat to the conduct of a free, fair and credible election.
Suleiman said: “CNG notes particularly, the ratification and vigorous pursuit of a regime of harsh unrealistic economic and financial policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria less than a month to the election, inflicting pains on the electorates and heating up the political atmosphere.
“Another hard proof of a potential threat to a peaceful transition through an acceptable electoral process is having fuel scarcity grounding activities and frustrating the population a month before the election.
“At the same time, embarking on Naira Exchange and making the new currency scarce by the CBN is another latent ground for suspicion.
“The timing for the implementation of such a policy in a country in which the total number of deposit money bank branches is just 5,437 with a concentration of 1624 branches in Lagos alone, other southern states 2235, and the entire Northern Nigerian states 1188, Abuja 390 is certainly a calculated to effort to bring about general confusion that would threaten the 2023 polls.
“Emiefile’s apparent arrogant stance on not going back on the January 31st deadline despite the patriotic intervention of the Nigerian Senate urging the CBN to extend the deadline by 6 months, the outright rejection of the policy by the Federal House of Representatives and the Nigerian Governors Forum, has inadvertently made the situation all the more suspicious.”
He urged candidates that may emerge as a result of a credible election to ease the hardships Nigerians are made to go through by reversing the current harsh economic policies and addressing all financial losses suffered by innocent Nigerians therefrom.
The group also called on Nigerians not to be discouraged from casting their votes during the election. Said, “That for the avoidance of doubt, we warn that any attempt from any quarters, to hoist any form of undemocratic arrangement short of a transparent, free and fair election will be roundly resisted and rejected.
“Finally, we urge the Nigerian people to prepare to endure the pains and ensure they cast their votes and their votes count, regardless of the antics of enemies of the country and undemocratic elements.”