A civil society group, knowm as Reclaim, Assess and Rebuild Enugu Initiative (RARE Initiative) has commended president, Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the decision to redesign and reissue new Naira notes in the country, noting that it will prevent politicians from engaging in vote-buying during elections next year.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, recently announced its decision to introduce new Naira notes of N200, N500 and N1,000 with effect from December 15, while the old notes will be completely withdrawn from circulation by January 31, 2023.
At a press conference on Tuesday, RARE Initiative urged the Nigerian judiciary to compliment the effort of the executive arm of government in cleansing the polity to ensure that possessors of illicit funds do not influence the expressed will of the masses through nomination process or elections.
Part of the press statement reads, “we wish to commend President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for embarking on the naira redesign and replacement policy.
“We at the RARE Initiative believe that the redesigning of Naira currency denominations of N200, N500 and N1,000, marks the beginning of the end to money politics and vote buying.
“Experience has shown that state governors have been behaving as tin gods, because of the massive cash haul at their disposal from Security Votes, which they hoard in various vaults and containers in their states.
“It does not require rocket science to know that state governors depend on the stack of cash from security votes and ecological funds to influence court cases and interfere in the electoral process.
“We urge the Nigerian judiciary to join the national systemic cleansing going on in our polity to ensure that possessors of illicit funds do not influence or determine the expressed will of the masses through nomination process or elections.”
The group bemoaned what it described as overbearing effect of godfatherism in Enugu State politics leading to imposition of electoral candidates against the popular wish of the people.
It said the people of Enugu State have expressed their rejection of godfather politics and have rejected the attempt to impose two candidates on them.
RARE said the increase of godfatherism in Enugu is worrisome, especially among the two leading parties, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that they are convinced that some politicians are determined to preserve the status quo, which has led to declining social welfare and development in the state.
“Through the activities of these entrenched interests, otherwise known as political godfathers, the outcome of the governorship primaries in both PDP and APC were predictable as they threw up preferred candidates of incumbent and former governors”. RARE said.
Executive Director of the group, Charles Chukwuma said that the lack of freedom of choice and level playing field ensured that the people’s will was not reflected in the outcome of the primaries.
It said the people of the state were however, “relieved when the Labour Party (LP) emerged as the new wave of third force political movement to become a credible alternative platform in the country’s democratic space”.
It accused the ruling party in the state, (PDP), of plotting to destabilise opposition parties like LP and APC through various devious means to enable them continue with their imposition agenda.
The group lamented that after the emergence of Chijioke Edoga as governorship candidate of Labour Party, some politicians started making frantic efforts to distract him on the mandate.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, nullified the nomination of Edoga as LP gubernatorial candidate and ordered fresh primaries within 14 days.
RARE Initiative said it also gathered that, N500 million was given to a highly placed national officer of the APC to scuttle Agballah’s election as APC chairman for Enugu State.
The group urged the state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to halt his aides from continuing with that agenda and channel funds expended on such ventures on things that would stimulate development.
“We therefore want to use this opportunity to call on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to restrain his appointees to stop wasting money that should have been used in developing Enugu State on needless political poker games”.
“As we speak, the same political cabal in Enugu State have been walking around various courts in search of a favourable ruling in the pre-election matter brought by Evarist Nnaji against Chijioke Edeoga’s nomination as Labour Party governorship candidate”
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