By Akombo Aondona, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari is looking increasingly isolated from the highest organ of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) – the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party – and the APC’s Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as well as the party’s governors who have all – from all intent and purposes – asked the President to rescind himself on the naira swap policy, which has caused widespread disaffection nationwide as citizens experience an acute shortage of both the old and new naira notes.
According to insiders at an emergency meeting which the NWC called with the governors and Tinubu on Sunday 19 February 2023, the APC stalwarts expressed dissatisfaction with the naira swap policy fiasco, insisting that President Buhari obey the interlocutory order issued by the Supreme Court allowing the use of both old and new notes until the apex court determines the suit brought before it by some governors, including those from the APC fold.
Sources told The Dream Daily Newspaper that the national crisis around the naira has jolted members of the infamous Aso Rock-based cabal allegedly behind the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cooked up to sabotage the Tinubu presidential bid.
Consequently, as the APC NWC meeting went on for over three hours and probably getting some feelers from it, the Aso Rock cabal hurriedly wheeled out President Buhari via a series of short videos (in Hausa and English) in which the President acknowledged the sufferings of citizens caused by the naira imbroglio, promising to do everything within his power to end the crisis in due course.
More tellingly in the videos, President Buhari directly pitched for the candidature of Tinubu and urged the electorate to elect Tinubu as his successor in this Saturday’s presidential election.
Political analysts say the president’s video pitch was canvassed by the Aso Rock cabal to douse discontent in the APC as a large swath of the party’s faithful at the grassroots has alleged that President Buhari has been playing a double game with the Tinubu campaign by making cameo appearances at the APC presidential campaigns and avoiding a direct endorsement of Tinubu at such campaigns.
Social media feeds monitored by The Dream Daily Newspaper appear to support the analysts’ claims as many pro-APC handles have acknowledged the President’s videos as full-throated endorsement of Tinubu and forgiven him for allegedly trying to distance himself from Tinubu, a political juggernaut they say made Buhari’s presidency possible in 2015 as well as his re-election in 2019.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Adamu expressed joy at the response of the governors.
His words: “I am happy with the response so far and it is my understanding that more of our members are still on their way coming. You will recall the recent developments that have necessitated the need for this invitation. We do not want to sit in judgment on anybody with regard to where we are today in the country as it affects our great party. I thought the best thing to do is to get all those who are holding forth in their respective positions and who were elected on the platform of the party to get together and have some interaction so that we can have a better understanding of what situation we are in. That is the essence of this invitation. And it is my pleasure to welcome you most sincerely to this interaction”.
And in a brief interview at the end of the NWC meeting, Adamu said: “I am sure you are quite aware of the fact that a meeting comprising of APC governors was held today and the leadership of the NWC of our great party was summoned for this afternoon and we had discussions and at the end of the discussions, we have resolved as follows and this resolution is without prejudice whatsoever to the case that is lying at the Supreme Court at this point in time. This has to do with the issue of currency redesign.
“We note very seriously that the programme and its implementation is causing tremendous difficulties to the people of Nigeria and to the national economy.
“That, we urge the Attorney General of the Federation and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to respect the Supreme Court order of interim injunction which is still subsisting.
“That the meeting is urging His Excellency, Mr. President to intervene in resolving issues that are causing these great difficulties to the economy”.
Backing Adamu, Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) of the APC governors, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, said: “We are on the same page. The APC Governors Forum, the NWC is one party. We are all together. The chairman said the governors and the party are one and the same and I am very proud of the conduct of our campaigns by our presidential candidate under the able leadership of our party led by Abdullahi Adamu and the DG of the Campaign Council and the governors alongside all our APC candidates across the country who have been doing a tremendous job of mobilizing Nigerians”.
Tinubu declined to speak with eager reporters waiting for him at the end of the meeting as he rushed to his car and left the APC National Headquarters without making any statement to the media.
In attendance at the meeting were Tinubu, Governors Nasiru El-Rufai, Kaduna state; Babajide Sawoolu, Lagos State; Mohammed Bello, Niger State, Abdulahi Sule of Nasarawa, Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti, Simone Lalong of Plateau; the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Placid Njoku; and Deputy Governor, Katsina State, Mohammed Manir Yakubu, among others.