Thirteen political parties in Nigeria have threatened to withdraw from the upcoming general elections scheduled for February 25 and March 11, 2023, over the redesign of the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The political parties expressed their dissatisfaction at a briefing by the coalition of political party chairmen on Monday, where they commended President Muhammadu Buhari on the redesign of the banknotes but expressed their unwillingness to participate in the elections if the new deadline of February 10, 2023, is shifted as demanded by some governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The parties also criticized the Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara state governments for approaching the Supreme Court to seek an injunction to extend the deadline for the validity of the old notes.
The CBN first announced its plan to redesign the banknotes on October 26, 2022, and the President subsequently unveiled the redesigned notes on November 23, 2022. The apex bank initially set January 31 as the deadline for the validity of the old notes but later extended it to February 10 following complaints from the public.
The National Chairman of the Action Alliance, Kenneth Udeze, stated that at least 13 out of the 18 political parties in Nigeria would not participate in the general elections if the currency policies are suspended, cancelled, or if the deadline is shifted further.
He added that the political parties would withdraw their participation from the electoral process.
The CBN has set a weekly cash withdrawal limit of N500,000 for individuals and N5 million for corporate firms. President Buhari has asked for seven days to make a major decision on the policy following a meeting with some APC governors on Friday.
The withdrawal of 13 political parties from the upcoming elections could have significant implications for the election and its outcome.
The situation remains fluid, and it remains to be seen what the President’s decision on the policy would be and how it would impact the political landscape of the country.
The withdrawal of 13 political parties could lead to a reduced number of contestants, thereby reducing competition and potentially leading to a one-sided election. The parties’ boycott could also impact voter turnout, as voters may feel that their preferred candidate is not competing in the election.
It is imperative that the government, CBN, and political parties work together to find a solution that addresses the concerns of the parties while maintaining the integrity of the election. The political parties must be given the opportunity to participate in the election process, and the CBN must ensure that its policies do not disrupt the election.
The government must also ensure that the election is free, fair, and transparent, and that the will of the people is reflected in the outcome.
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