The spokesman for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, has defended President Muhammadu Buhari on the redesign of the naira notes initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Buhari had in a nationwide broadcast on Thursday extended the validity of the old N200 notes till April 10.
The president, however, declared that the old N500 and N1000 notes had ceased to be legal tender contrary to the Supreme Court’s order which insisted that all the old notes remain valid pending the determination of the suit on February 22.
The development had led to violent protests in Lagos, Ogun Oyo and other parts of the country.
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and his counterparts in Kano, Jigawa, Lagos, and Ogun had rejected the president’s directive and insisted the old naira notes remain legal tender until the apex court determines otherwise.
Keyamo, who reacted to the development in a Channels Television’s programme “The 2023 Verdict on Friday,” said the president might have been advised wrongly on the matter.
He (Keyamo) said the decision of the APC governors to take the Nigerian government to court on the policy was a true federalism in action.
Keyamo said: “My view is that the President acted honestly without intention to slight the Supreme Court, but he may have acted on wrong advice.
“I did not give that advice; it is not my responsibility. I don’t know who gave that advice. I want to say this openly because tomorrow, people will ask me where I stood at this time.
“He thought he was playing safe by saying, ‘Before you decide this matter in court, may I just provide some middle ground so that country burning, there are riots everywhere, so let me just try and provide some succour to the people, whilst acknowledging the matters are in court.’
“Now, if I were to advise him, I would have advised differently. I did not advise him. It’s not my responsibility; I don’t know who. The best thing is to comply strictly with the terms of the order of the Supreme Court that all the old naira notes should circulate for now side by side with the new notes because that is the order of the Supreme Court.
“All authorities in Nigeria must obey the orders of the Supreme Court. Anything to the contrary is a descent into anarchy.
“It’s federalism in action. Those who are clamouring for true federalism – this is true federalism in action. People are thinking that this is the first time that governors of the APC are taking the President to court. It’s not.
“On various issues, they have always challenged the President in court. It doesn’t affect their amity; it doesn’t affect the cohesion of the party; it doesn’t affect the cohesion of these individuals.”