Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, on Monday, asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review its policy on naira redesign.
Fashola spoke on Channels Television’s Politics Today, stating that the policy was causing unintended hardship to Nigerians.
He expected the CBN to return to its drawing board for a second look and come up with better ways of ameliorating the pains.
The minister emphasised that the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, was the first to speak up against the policy before others found their voices.
He added that he had had several reasons as a public servant to review himself.
The minister also spoke on APC’s chances in the general election, Tinubu’s love for the masses, and efforts at delivering all the promises President Muhammadu Buhari made to Nigerians in 2015.
“I empathize with those challenges, but some of them are the result of the policy. It is the responsibility of public servants, especially those responsible for those policies, to look back and say: did we intend to cause this pain, if the policy is not working, perhaps, you have to readjust and also ask yourself whether you thought this through. As a public officer before and now, I have had a course to reverse myself when I saw that my policies were causing unintended results.
“I have no responsibilities on those two areas (fuel queues and redesigned Naira notes) and, therefore, I cannot speak to the details of the facts that are available to the policymakers. But the important thing is that those policies are not yet delivering the results, and are delivering a lot of inconveniences for Nigerians.
“That is why our candidate was the first to speak out about it. Even though it was his party that was in government. That is consistent with Asiwaju Tinubu as an activist, a fighter of the downtrodden, and a champion of the downtrodden. It was after he spoke that the others now found their voices. One of the consequences of the policy that is unintended, is pain and inconvenience, and I think that every responsible policymaker should step back and say: hey, is this what we intended?”
On the chances of the opposition parties, Fashola made it clear that the APC was clearly in the lead as they (opposition parties) were not a match for the ruling party.
According to Fashola, while the opposition was one party before breaking into three parties – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), the APC defeated them.
Now that they have been divided into three, he said, the gap between them and the APC has widened.
“We have a few days to the elections, and we have the momentum. The APC will win the election. We know it is a competition but the opposition is behind. Election as we all say is a game of numbers. One of the principles of election is that it is a game of numbers, and Mathematics and Arithmetic are about addition and multiplication. It is not about subtraction and division.
“One of the cardinal problems that opposition has had is that they are divided. So, it would not add up. The main opposition today, LP, NNPP, and PDP, were on one side in 2019. The totality of their votes was still about 3 million votes short of the votes by which we won.
“If you were not enough when you were together, how can you be enough when you have broken up into three? Are you bringing more new people in from outside Nigeria?
”Clearly, if you look at his (Tinubu) track records in his previous public service experience when he was Senator, he chaired the largest Committee of the Senate ever. If you look at his experience and record as governor of Lagos State, many of his policies have gained widespread acceptance across Nigeria, including opposition states. 10 opposition states have passed the office of public defender law, a state-grown initiative to support people who did not have access to justice or who could not afford lawyers.
“Compared to other candidates, by records, performance, industry, and energy, he is clearly ahead.
“The guy is built like a tank. He looks frail, You think he’s going to fall, but he doesn’t fall. You underestimate him at your own peril.”