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Insight & Analysis - February 15, 2023

5 Ways CBN’s Naira Redesign Policy Will Affect 2023 Election

There has been so much controversy thrown up by the CBN’s naira redesign policy and ensuing naira note swap.

While the CBN has stuck to its guns on the issue of the stipulated deadline of February 10th despite the Supreme Court order ordering it to jettison the date, many Nigerians continue to operate and transact with so much uncertainty and confusion.

As things stand, the bank is going head-to-head with the Supreme Court over the issue. While the court has ordered it to postpone the deadline following a lawsuit filed by the Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara state governors, who argued that the policy was undermining the welfare of Nigerians, the bank says the court has no locus standi in the matter.

According to the apex bank:

“It is true that the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to hear matters between two or more states, between a state and the Federal Government (FG), or between the National Assembly and FG. But this matter is between some states and the CBN. The Supreme Court has no original jurisdiction to hear the subject matter of the suit,” said the Head of Legal to a leading commercial bank in Nigeria who spoke with Ventures Africa anonymously. “The issue is not a dispute with state governments. Rather, it bothers a CBN policy. And that should be within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.”

With this uncertainty, Nigerians continue to experience a tough time with the banks and carrying out basic banking transactions as banks continue to remain shut and long, unending queues at ATM machines continue to be a daily feature.

This is the situation on the ground, with the 2023 general election barely 10 days away. How is this going to impact the 2023 general election? This is the question on the lips of many.

Here are 5 ways the CBN naira redesign policy will affect the 2023 general election:

First, there is likely to be voter apathy

With the current situation across the country, the possibility of voter apathy being prevalent across the country on election day is very high. As it stands, many Nigerians are already on edge, as many businesses are being disrupted by the inability to access cash. The likelihood of Nigerians turning out en masse to vote is therefore very doubtful.

There might be an uprising

With citizens on the edge and their daily means of survival being continuously strangulated, they may be pushed to the wall, and an uprising might ensue.

The ability of the electoral umpire to conduct a free, fair, and smooth election may be hampered

The Independent National Electoral Commission is a vital component in the electoral process, and it draws its existence from the entire framework of Nigerian society. With this, it is also not immune from the daily happenings and policy directions being implemented by other agencies and ministries. The naira redesign policy most likely will affect the agency’s ability to conduct a smooth election.

Possibility of the election being postponed

With so many issues filled with uncertainty, the likelihood of the Independent National Electoral Commission postponing the election is very high, and it might resort to this should the situation across the country degenerate.

Increased cases of rural dwellers trading in other currencies

When the CBN advised Nigerians to swap their old notes, many complained of their inability to get the new notes because banks were not releasing them. As a result, many Nigerians, especially those in the rural areas along the border communities of the country, resorted to trading in CFA Franc, the legal tender of neighbouring Francophone countries. With the issue becoming more dire, this might be on the increase.

NEXT: Why 2023 Elections Will Not Hold in 240 Polling Units 

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