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Sanwo-Olu Unveils Number to Call to Report Banks Rejecting Old Naira Notes

By Dipo Olowookere

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reacted to a report by a national newspaper alleging that its Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, was plotting to get back at the president-elect, Mr Bola Tinubu, by ensuring that the candidate of the opposition Labour Party (LP) in Lagos State, Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, fondly called GRV, defeats the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday, March 18, 2023.

Mr Tinubu is believed to be in control of Lagos State, which is the commercial capital of Nigeria, since 1999, when he was elected as the governor of the state.

Though his term ended in 2007, according to reports, he has been actively involved in who leads the state, from Mr Babatunde Fashola (the current Minister of Works and Housing) in 2007 to former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode in 2015 and the incumbent Mr Sanwo-Olu, who now seeks another four-year term in office.

In the February 25, 2023, presidential election, Mr Tinubu, for the first time, lost Lagos State to the candidate of LP in the contest, Mr Peter Obi. This unsettled his camp and has put Mr Sanwo-Olu under pressure over fears that another protest vote could chase him out from Alausa this weekend.

Last year, Mr Emefiele attempted to clinch the presidential ticket of the APC but was stopped by the court, which held that he could not remain as the CBN chief and be involved in politics.

This fuelled calls for his resignation and cast doubt on his Naira redesign and cashless policies, which some politicians, including allies of Mr Tinubu, said were targeted at the president-elect.

Today, a newspaper with ties to Mr Tinubu published a story alleging that the apex bank boss was plotting to ensure the president-elect loses control of Lagos State in the governorship election this Saturday.

According to the report, Mr Emefiele has provided funds to the candidate of the Labour Party to prosecute the election and unseat the ruling party.

However, the acting Director of Corporate Communications of the CBN, Mr Isa Abdulmumin, refuted these claims, stressing that his boss is not partisan.

“The attention of the CBN has been drawn to a story published in The Nation newspaper of Monday, March 13, 2023, edition, alleging that the Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has launched a fresh plot against president-elect.

“The aforementioned story went further to allege that the Governor has made a certain amount of money available to a candidate ahead of the March 18, 2023, gubernatorial poll.

“We wish to inform members of the public that this story is completely false and malicious as the CBN Governor does not know and has never met or even spoken with Mr Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, either in person or through a proxy.

“We wish to reiterate that the CBN Governor does not take part in politics and, therefore, urge anyone with contrary information to prove the Governor wrong by providing any facts.

“As such, the Governor and his team at the CBN should be allowed to focus on their assigned job with a view to achieving the statutory mandate of the bank,” the statement said.

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