Member of the House of Representatives, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, has lamented the absence of the required amount he needs for his election, permitted by the Electoral Act to contest in the 2023 general elections as a lawmaker owing to the scarcity of naira in the country.
Doguwa who is the Majority Leader of the lower chamber, while speaking after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja, said lawmakers irrespective of their political affiliation were entitled to N70 million each to pay polling agents and for other election running costs.
The Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Policy, Naira Redesign and Currency Swap, stressed that denying them access to “hard cash” would amount to planning to ensure their failure at the polls.
His words: “I need to have N70 million in hard copy, the law has permitted it and as I speak to you, I don’t have it. ATM stations have turned to wrestling grounds.”
The All Progressives Congress chieftain informed journalists that the lower parliament mandated his ad-hoc committee to interface with Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the implementation of the policy.
Recall President Buhari addressed the nation on Thursday morning and directed the central bank to recirculate the old N200 notes till April 10, 2023, maintaining that the old N500 and N1,000 banknotes cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.
Buhari explained that the policy was designed to stop vote-buying, which is threatening democracy as voters are induced with cash for votes, making elections not free and fair.
“Now that the President has issued the directive, how do we ensure that the president’s directive is being carried out on the ground?
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“This is what we came to iron out today. No matter how professional a policy is, it is counterproductive if it induces suffering in Nigerians,” Doguwa told newsmen.
“I as a member of the ruling party, told Mr. President that the policy in itself is a policy that is against the ruling party, my party because it’s a government policy. And Nigerians at time of elections are now looking at my government coming up with an unpopular policy. Unpopular because it does not matter if the policy may be seen to be professionally good. Some us see a lot of things good about the policy, but our worry as members of the ruling party is why now?
“30-40 days to elections you come out with a policy that is not widely accepted by Nigerians and whether we like it or not that will be seen as the program of government. So those of us in the APC are not happy about it and I believe some of my colleagues in other parties would not see this as a good policy. Not good because the time is absolutely wrong”.
“And when you have issues to do with policies of government, you have matters that border on lives and livelihood of our people, the best institution to speak for Nigerians is this institution, the National Assembly and in this case, the House of Representatives.
“No matter what policy you want to bring; no matter how good or decent that policy is, as long as it brings about hardship, pressure to the system, then that policy must be deemed to be otherwise. It is on this note that we told Mr President that we would continue to interface with relevant agencies especially the CBN governor.”
He added: “Of course while we are discharging our constitutional right to oversight every institution of government, we must ensure that the directive of Mr. President is carried out to the letter, failure to do that we must involve every instrumentality of the law, legislative instrumentality, to ensure that Presidential orders are being abided by and ensure that the laws of the land are also being respected.
“But I want to state without any fear of contradiction that I share in the perception of Mr. President, not in the CBN governor, that there is need for us to entrench this policy to be able to address some security problems; there is need for this policy so that Nigeria can be seen to be working on same page with international economies.
“But why do you want us to be cashless at a time when we are facing a general election where security apparatus working to protect the election process would require cash to service their logistics?
“Why will you insist on cashless when even INEC has raised a lot of fears that without cash is needed to carry out activities by the electoral commission?” the federal legislator queried.
via: Information Nigeria
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