The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) on Saturday came hard on the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, over his comment urging the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to grant further extension of its Naira swap policy deadline beyond the 10 days announced by the bank.
The AYCF declared that Atiku was on his own for recently opposing the opinions of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, and the National Assembly on the policy.
Atiku had reportedly hailed the apex bank for a 10-day extension of the deadline while urging it not to grant any further extension.
In a press statement personally signed and released by Alhaji Yerima Shettima, National President of the AYCF, the organisation which said it was calling Atiku to order, wondered what Atiku hoped to benefit from the difficulties citizens currently experience as a result of the cash swap policy.
The group warned Atiku to stop playing politics with the policy adding that his comment was self-serving.
“Former VP Atiku’s call was out of place because it is coming on the heels of growing complaint about the kind of sabotage that is causing untold hardship to Nigerians over this policy.
“Atiku stands alone in his call on the CBN not to review the deadline. He is against prominent Nigerians who made passionate appeal for deadline review, notably the sultan of Sokoto, the Senate and House of Representatives leaders and experts.
“What purpose will the current difficulties people are facing serve Atiku? Why would he rather identify with the need to let the difficulties faced by especially rural folks continue and for how long?” The statement asked.
While noting that the policy was good owing to the fact that as at end of June 2022, available data indicated that N2.72 trillion out of the N3.26 trillion in circulation was outside the vaults of commercial banks, the group said it, however, supports the calls by Nigerians for an extension.
“We are of course aware that the economy has suffered heavy, avoidable bruises.
“The AYCF wishes to state that it will be suicidal for this nation to consider Atiku’s advice against a review of the CBN cash swap deadline, because for any policy to succeed, it must have a human face and we believe the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, won’t turn against overwhelming public interest, like Atiku has just done.
“The AYCF is therefore warning the ex-VP not to turn this policy into a weapon of political manipulation or political attention-seeking opportunity. He should forget about the continuation of a policy in the midst of loud calls for positive review for the sake of his selfish political and self-serving interests. We will not stop emphasising that Nigeria is never a Banana Republic.
“We advise the ex-VP to concentrate on his presidential campaigns by showcasing what he has done to merit the votes of Nigerians and stop playing politics with our economic policies and associated challenges. We thought the ex-VP would tell Nigerians what he has to offer in fighting inflation and weak national currency,” the group added.