Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) has warned the ruling All Progressives Congress that it is at risk of losing the presidential election over the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cash withdrawal policy.
Sagay spoke on Sunday as he came down hard on the CBN for trying to force the cashless policy on Nigerians.
Speaking exclusively with Daily Independent, Sagay, who backed the calls for the extension of the January 31 withdrawal date of the old notes, said most automated teller machines (ATM) are still dispensing the old notes while the new ones are not fully in circulation.
Describing CBN’s governor, Godwin Emefiele’s statement that there is no going back on the policy as brutish, uncivilised and barbaric, Sagay warned that the policy can create an economic disaster for Nigeria if not urgently addressed.
Sagay particularly said the policy which is unpopular with many Nigerians may affect the fortunes of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections.
He said, “I am even angry that this government allows him to do that because it will make the APC unpopular. This hardship is being created under an APC government and election is just around the corner.
“I think Emefiele may be a mole from another party trying to create hatred for the APC. I don’t understand why he should bring this policy at this time when we are just few days to the general election.
“I don’t understand why this government should accept such a recommendation which is most unfavourable to them and their political chances in the forthcoming elections. For me, the whole thing is a disaster”.
Speaking further, he said the developed nations which Emefiele is trying hard to imitate are still using notes as legal tender and do not introduce new notes in a hasty manner the way the CBN governor was going about it.
“I think the whole thing (cashless policy) is a disaster. I don’t like people trying to show off that they are very modern. You are introducing cashless policy bla la bla, you want to be like America. In America, they are still using cash. I was there this year. I used cash on many occasion.
“So, nobody is forcing you to adopt cashless policy. It is the African man that wants to imitate and he does that in a very ignorant and uncivilised manner. Why is Emefiele trying to force people? Why is he putting deadline on the usage of the old currency?
“The deadline is almost here now yet the new currency is not available. I have been withdrawing money and all I’m getting are the old notes.
“Why should he even tell me how much to withdraw from my own money? If I find the electronic transfer more convenient, I will adopt it without anyone mounting pressure on me to do so.
“For example, I have ATM card now because it is convenient for me to use. It is a matter of convenience, not usage of force. Africans tend to imitate in a brutish manner, using force without providing the facility that will make what they want to do possible. By doing so, they inflict hardship on societies. If we are not careful, this CBN policy can create an economic disaster for this country”.