The Presidency has said there are no plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to extend his tenure beyond May 29, 2023, or install an interim national government.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the Presdient on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Friday.
The presidency stated this while reacting to claims by some governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that Buhari’s insistence on the new naira policy was to trigger chaos that would necessitate the imposition of an interim government.
In his nationwide broadcast on Thursday, the President declared that only old N200 notes would be valid as a legal tender until April 10.
He said N500 and N1000 notes must be returned to the CBN or designated locations on or before April 10, 2023.
However, Governors Nasir El-Rufai and Abdullahi Ganduje of Kaduna and Kano States respectively, claimed that the policy would lead to more crises that would hinder elections and usher in an interim government.
They also argued that the new naira policy, which had sparked pockets of protests and riots nationwide, was a plot to make the APC unpopular and thwart the chances of its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
But the presidency denied the allegations, saying the talk of an interim government was “way off the mark.”
In the statement titled, ‘Stop the joke about interim government, elections will hold,’ Shehu said Buhari looks forward to handing over power on May 29, 2023.
“Let us clearly, specifically, and emphatically state that there is absolutely no truth to the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is working towards an interim government or even worse, the truncation of democracy.
“The President looks forward to handing over the reins of power to his elected successor. This will happen on May 29, 2023, as the Constitution requires.
“What should be made crystal clear to the doubters and the speculators and the untruth-tellers is that in no way was the naira swap ‘engineered’ to keep the President in office beyond May 29. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Those who peddle it stand to gain nothing at all but the creation of panic and the incitement of the public against the Federal Government.
“It is another dangerous dimension by people who are afraid that they may lose their elections,” he said
According to the presidency, there is a lot of pressure on everyone, including the party, its elected officials, candidates, and law enforcement agencies following the recent turn of events.
“It is precisely because the President is concerned with this problem that he opened several avenues for consultation with leaders and groups across the country, culminating in his broadcast to the nation on Thursday morning.
“In line with the speech, his clear and unequivocal directive is that the problem of cash supply must be addressed without delay.
“While this is being done, there is no need to panic. We need to work together as leaders, as a people, and as one nation.
“When panic hits, people go into overdrive. Shouting helps no one because no one can listen.
“The solution to the problem is not in sending Nigerians into confusion.
“Elections, just a week ahead, will hold and Nigerians will vote for the All Progressives Congress and any others if they so wish, on the basis of their choices.
“Our people want progress, good governance, law and order and will not be swayed by the negative energy being expended against a well-meaning currency change.
“Finally, to state that the president clearly has a favoured successor in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is not in doubt.
“The fact that Tinubu has been opposed to the speed and timing of the naira swap timetable does not mean he is against the idea of Nigeria becoming a cashless society. Of course he supports a cashless society; he is a man of the future.
“The president looks forward to handing over the reins of power to his elected successor. This will happen on May 29, 2023 as the constitution requires.
“The days of unelected Nigerian leaders and those who outstay their welcome by unconstitutionally extending it have gone,” Shehu added.