Former President Muhammadu Buhari says approving the naira
redesign policy was a way to ensure his “integrity became unquestionable”.
The immediate-past president spoke in an interview with NTA
— his first since handing over the reins of the nation’s leadership to
President Bola Tinubu in May.
With Buhari’s backing, the central bank announced its plans
to redesign and circulate a new series of three banknotes out of the existing
eight, in October 2022.
The redesigned N200, N500, and N1000 notes were due for
circulation on December 15, 2022; while the pre-existing notes would remain
legal tender until January 31, 2023.
On November 23, Buhari unveiled the redesigned naira notes —
earlier than scheduled.
The move triggered nationwide chaos as cash became scarce
before and during the general elections.
Speaking on the naira redesign policy in the interview,
Buhari said the move was imperative to check those who had stashed ill-gotten
believe it or not, we are an underdeveloped country. And in that sort of
situation, there’s materialism and sometimes ruthlessly they didn’t care how
they made the money,” he said.
“I still feel that the only way I could deprive these people
was just to make sure that my integrity became unquestionable… I think as a
developing country we still have a long way to go.
“The motivation (for the policy) was to try and make
Nigerians believe that there is no shortcut to successful leadership.”
Buhari also spoke about how technology made him win the 2015
presidential polls after previous futile attempts.
“Instead of people
expressing sympathy, people laughed at me because I didn’t have money, because
I couldn’t buy influence in any form, either from influential people or others.
And I said ‘God dey’. And he sent the Permanent Voter Card (PVC). Meaning you
now have only one vote,” the ex-president said.
Buhari also said he is not sure he achieved all he had set
out to achieve as Nigeria’s leader from 2015 to 2023, adding however, that he
does not miss being out of office.
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