Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari over the President’s Thursday broadcast where he insisted that the old N500 and N1000 notes ceased to be a legal tender.
In a Media Chat on Thursday in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said that Buhari’s action is tantamount to interference with pending lawsuit in the Supreme Court.
According to the Governor, the president’s directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to reintroduce only the old N200 note into the economy is an affront to the Supreme Court.
The Rivers State governor expressed dismay that the president who ideally should be the epitome of rule of law, has regrettably taken deliberate steps to undermine the integrity of the Supreme Court, whose interim injunction on the naira swap matter is still subsisting.
“As far as I am concerned, this is complete interference, which is not good for our democracy.”
The governor said it is hypocritical for the federal government to propose out-of-court settlement with aggrieved States, while at the same time undermining the outcome of the pending suit in the Supreme Court.
He insisted that the interim order issued by the Supreme Court is still subsisting and must be respected by the federal government to the letter.
“Until that is done there is nothing anybody can do about it. The issue of N200 naira in circulation is neither here nor there. If they had pulled out of court then the president could come in. Having not pulled out of court and the interim order still subsists, we should obey it to the letter.”
He maintained that the federal government’s claim that the naira redesign policy will curb corruption and vote buying is not tenable, pointing out that the timing of the naira swap policy smacks of politics.
“So, we must consider the issue of timing. Some people may say it is good to help fight corruption. I don’t believe so. As far as I am concerned, I believe that this policy is targeted at some people. I may not be wrong.”
Wike said he cannot fathom how a policy that the federal government claim is intended to help the Nigerian economy, has now turned out to be its albatross.
On the impasse between the G-5 governors and the national leadership of PDP, the Rivers State governor, said the G-5 governors have crossed the rubicon, and are no longer disposed to broker any peace with the national leadership of the party.
Wike explained that contrary to insinuations that the G-5 governors were working at cross-purposes, the group, he maintained, has remained intact and their impact would be felt in the aftermath of the 25th February presidential election.
He said no G-5 governor has so far attended the PDP presidential campaign in their respective States.
“Even before the Enugu Governor received him (Atiku) in Government House, we knew about it. We cannot tell you the approach. Forget about what people are saying, the 25th is here. Everybody will see it.
“We can’t do that again. It’s over. We have said it and there is nothing anybody can do about it now. They believe that they have won the election, so they don’t need us. I am not ready to sit down again with anybody.”
He said those who have chosen to ignore the G-5 and other members of the Integrity Group will soon realize their grave mistake after the 25th of February.
Wike, who said he has no apology for hosting the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other leaders of the party in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, however, declined to mention his preferred presidential candidate.
He said PDP leaders in Rivers State have already taken a position on whom the State will vote for and that decision has been communicated to party stalwarts and supporters ahead of next week’s election.
The Rivers State Governor reiterated that he would never leave the PDP, and boasted that he remains one of the most relevant members of the party.
Speaking on the decision of the PDP not to hold its presidential campaign in Rivers State, the governor said members of the Presidential Campaign Council in the State are devious and lack honour.
According to him, “After collecting money from some governors to organize the presidential rally, the PCC members who apparently lack the capacity to mobilize crowd decided to cook up an outlandish conspiracy theory of insecurity in the State”.
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