…as NSA, others reiterate commitment to safety during elections

With just 16 days to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele, has assured Nigerians and the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the apex bank will not allow itself to be used to scuttle the forthcoming general elections.

Emefiele made this known during a working visit by the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Mahmood Yakubu with 11 National Commissioners to the CBN headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

Prof. Yakubu, said that the CBN should find a way of addressing the scarcity of the new currency across the country especially with just about 16 days to the presidential and national assembly elections because some service providers to the commission were “unbanked” and would be needing cash payments as against e-banking.

In his response, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the apex bank is committed to support INEC in the area of electronic means of payment and cash to pay some service providers during the general election.

Emefiele said, “The CBN will not allow itself to be used as agents to frustrate the forthcoming election which is an important national assignment.

“If you require cash to pay some of your service providers, we will make it available to you. We will not allow ourselves to be seen as agents that frustrate a genuine national assignment”.

He further noted that, “Because we regard the INEC project as a topmost or an urgent national assignment, it cannot fail and the CBN would not allow itself, either to be used or seen as an agent that frustrated a positive outcome of that election.

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“I give you that commitment that whatever you need, we will make it available. It is nothing to worry about and I will make sure that we do not fail”, he assured.

The INEC chairman had told the CBN governor the 2023 polls will be the best in Nigeria’s history, adding that concerns have however been raised about the processes leading to the elections.

He said while the commission has transferred all its accounts at the state and national level to the apex bank, some of the services being rendered to the commission need to be paid for in cash.

He stated that INEC is encouraged by the continuing willingness of the apex bank to support the commission’s determination to deliver credible elections on the 25th February 2023 and 11th March 2023, particularly the facilitation of activities necessary for the success of the elections in an area where the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has exclusive responsibility.

According to him, “The Nigerian election is a huge and complex undertaking. It requires the engagement of critical services. In line with the provisions of extant laws and regulations, service providers are generally paid by means of electronic transfer to their accounts.

“However, there are equally critical areas such as transportation and human support services that have to be immediately remunerated either partially or in full before services are rendered. In addition, emergency situations may arise requiring immediate cash payments.

Similarly, the chairman paid a working visit to the National Security Adviser(NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.)who also reiterated the commitment of all service chiefs to the safety of citizens across the country during and after the elections.

According to Monguno, although there are a number issues confronting the polity, the elections would go on as scheduled as measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of citizens as they go out to perform their civic responsibilities.