Wike attacks Buhari over naira redesign, says presidency has been hijacked

By Chris Ezeonoh

Having reportedly endorsed the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for president, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has joined the former Lagos governor to attack President Muhammadu Buhari over the naira redesign policy.

Speaking at the Comprehensive Secondary School field, Ibaka Town, Okrika Island during the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party Campaign Flag-off Rally for Okrika Local Government Area on Friday, Wike advised President Buhari to reconsider how the currency redesign policy has been implemented so far because it is anti-people.

Wike maintained that those who recommended this “apparently anti-people monetary policy do not love the President and are bent on tarnishing his legacy”.

The governor urged President Muhammadu Buhari to take a critical look at the socioeconomic chaos, and hardship that the exercise has caused, and revisit the policy to curb the pains of Nigerians.

“This policy is anti-people. The new Naira note is not there. Even though I have money in my account, I cannot get N10,000. I cannot go and buy fuel. Who is losing? Is it not the masses? Is it not the people?”

He suggested that the President should stop listening to those who advise him on this monetary policy under the guise that it would curb vote buying. He said those advisors do not mean well for Nigerians and cannot feel their sufferings.

Wike also dismissed the claim that the policy is being implemented to fight politicians and corruption and wondered if such goals can be achieved within, barely, the three months left within the lifespan of President Buhari’s administration.

“You’re merely fighting against the poor people. Mr President, I know the pressure, but please since two of us are going at the same time, this policy, has nothing to fight corruption at all. It has nothing to fight politicians.

“This policy is aimed to suffer the people who elected us to govern over them. Our business is not to make people suffer. We all know how to fight corruption. We all know how to fight politicians. This particular one, it does not come in at all.”

Wike expressed dismay that people are now prevented from accessing money lodged in their bank accounts and small-scale commercial activities grounded for lack of cash. According to him, there is reduced cash flow in circulation and even the redesigned Naira notes are hardly available to the citizenry.

“I know Mr President has good intentions, but there are these people who believe they know more than everybody, they go and put the country in total chaos and that is what we are suffering now.”

He stressed the futility of presenting credit cards to pay for food items bought from an elderly woman who depends on daily sales to raise money in the rural areas with prevailing illiteracy.

According to the governor, there is nowhere in the world where such currency change has been done conclusively within six months.

“I have never seen anywhere in this world where you change money within six months and say no more use of old money. It doesn’t work. It takes time and you have to prepare. Look at our economy, look at the rural areas, the level of illiteracy in the country.”

Wike, therefore, urged the president to endeavour to avert aggravating the security challenges across the country and pushing Nigerians deeper into economic hardship.

“Can you imagine the problem you’re causing for us? As we are here, the level of insecurity will increase. We can’t get security agencies money any longer for them to use and pay those who are in the field. Even the CIA they carry cash for operations. Even NIA, they carry cash for operation. But here, we can’t even give our security One Million Naira.”

Speaking further, Wike said recent events have vindicated him over his initial public statement that the PDP presidential candidate and his supporters boasted that they do not need the G-5 governors to win elections because they had been assured of victory by a cabal in the presidency.

“I said they have been given assurance, but this election is not going to be based on that cabal assurance. It is on the people’s assurance.”

Wike has, however, insisted that there they will still need Rivers State to win or they will lose the election. According to him, “whether you like it or not, you must need Rivers State. If you don’t need Rivers State you must fail. If you say you don’t want us, you’ll fail. There is no two ways about it.”

Soliciting votes for Sir Siminialayi Fubara, his running mate Prof Ngozi Odu and other PDP candidates, Wike urged the people to vote overwhelmingly for the PDP.

He said that the contract for the Okrika sand filling project has been rewarded because the former contractor who is their son has failed to finish the project.

Wike also announced the upgrading to first-class traditional stool status, confirmation and recognition of King Nelson Atubo Oputibeya as the Amanyanabo of Koniju.

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Rivers State governorship candidate of the PDP, Sir Siminialayi Fubara said his administration, when elected as governor, will work to sustain the existing peace in Okrika, complete any ongoing project it may inherit, and provide more development projects to them.

Rivers State Chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, who presented the party’s flags to the various candidates in the area contesting the forthcoming election, urged Okrika people to vote massively for the party’s candidates.

Speaking on behalf of other candidates, Chief Allwell Onyesoh, the Rivers East Senatorial candidate, thanked the leadership and members of the party for the privilege given to them to fly the party flag. He pledged that they will provide quality representation when elected.

Earlier, Wike inaugurated a 100-Bed Mother and Child Hospital in Okrika, which was built under the auspices of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the office of the presidency.

The project was nominated and attracted to the area by Hon. Bright Gogo, the House of Representatives member for Okrika and Ogu/Bolo federal constituency.

While commending Princess Adejoke Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistant on SDGs to President Muhammadu Buhari, for ensuring the building and equipping of the hospital, Wike noted that Hon. Gogo has distinguished himself for attracting and realising the project in his constituency unlike other federal lawmakers from the state who spend their time without any project.

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