From Sola Ojo, Kaduna

The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) yesterday berated the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, over his comment on the new and old naira swap.

AYCF in a statement by its National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, a copy of which was made available to Sunday Sun in Kaduna, asked Atiku to concentrate on his political campaign rather than dabbling into economic policy that has increased the suffering of the majority of Nigerians.

Shettima noted that Atiku’s advice to the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, was not only ill-timed, but selfish and politically-motivated.

“Our attention has been drawn to viral news in which PDP presidential flag bearer, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, turned against the calls for CBN to extend the deadline for its cash swap policy. While we feel duty-bound to call the former VP to order on his politically-motivated stance, we wish to state as follows:

“We are, of course, aware that the economy has suffered heavy, avoidable bruises. As at end of June 2022, available data indicated that N2.72 trillion out of the N3.26 trillion currency in circulation was outside the vaults of commercial banks across and hidden in crude forms.

“So, the cashless policy is inherently good, though there are calls for a review of the CBN deadline that we must not ignore.

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“Former VP Atiku’s call was out of place because it is coming on the heels of growing complaints about the kind of sabotage that is causing untold hardship to Nigerians over this policy.

“Atiku stands alone in his call on the CBN not to review the deadline.

“What purpose will the current difficulties people are facing serve Atiku? Why would he rather identify with the need to let the difficulties faced by especially rural folks continue and for how long?

“The AYCF wishes to state that it will be suicidal for this nation to consider Atiku’s advice against a review of the CBN cash-swap deadline because for any policy to succeed, it must have a human face and we believe CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele won’t turn against the overwhelming public interest as Atiku has just done.

“The AYCF is, therefore, warning the ex-VP not to turn this policy into a weapon of political manipulation or political attention-seeking opportunity. He should forget about the continuation of a policy amid loud calls for a positive review for the sake of his selfish political and self-serving interests. We will not stop emphasizing that Nigeria is never a Banana Republic.

“We advise the ex-VP to concentrate on his presidential campaigns by showcasing what he has done to merit the votes of Nigerians and stop playing politics with our economic policies and associated challenges,” the group said.