… says governor not G-10 member

Bayelsa State government has demanded unreserved apology from a group of civil society organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of the Civil Society Organisations Central Coordinating Council over a false allegation against Governor Douye Diri.

The CSOs through its member, Gabriel Ojemena, alleged at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday that Governor Diri was among a group of 10 governors (G-10) opposing President Muhammadu Buhari on the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CSOs also claimed that the 10 governors were disrespectful of Mr. President and planning to make the country ungovernable if the policy was not reversed.

According to Hon. Ayibaina Duba, Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Bayelsa State, “These are not only unfounded and baseless allegations but they are also annoying and provocative. It is even more ridiculous and insensitive coming at a time the governor is mourning the passing of his father.

“The government is particularly dismayed that CSOs that should be better informed rather yielded themselves as agent-provocateur to misinform Nigerians. The government urges the CSOs to go study the papers that some states filed at the Supreme Court on the new notes suit instead of spreading falsehood.”

For the avoidance of doubts, Governor Diri is not opposed to the Naira re-design policy of the CBN or the Federal Government. What he is opposed to is the hardship the implementation of the policy has visited on Nigerians.

When he spoke publicly for the first time about the policy a week ago, it was at a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Kaduna South senatorial campaign launch at Zonkwa in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State. His comments in support of the policy were unflattering and unambiguous.

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Governor Diri said at the rally: “We have to reset this country. The way the country is going is not about religion and ethnicity. It is about a few people that have taken the wealth of this country to themselves.

“While we are not in support of the common man suffering as a result of the sudden CBN policy, that policy will change not only our currency but our attitude towards everything as leaders.

“While we plead with the CBN to ensure that our people do not suffer, the other side, those of them who have bullion vans, who are prepared to buy over the presidency, the CBN policy is Holy Ghost fire on them. That is why they are shouting. Why are they shouting as if it affects them more than us?

“All the CBN is saying is that anybody who does not earn money should not have money in bullion vans to go and buy over our voters. That is all the CBN has said and we support that policy. However, make the money available to those who have earned it through their farms, trading and their legitimate business. That is all we are saying.”

The aforementioned quote as published in ThisDay of Tuesday, February 7, 2023, not only summed up the governor’s position but also reinforced the CBN’s stand on the policy, the commissioner said in a press statement.

The Bayelsa government thus challenges the CSOs, if their motive was not a hatchet job that eventually misfired, to show contrary proof.

If their intention was not borne out of mischief, why include Governor Diri, a PDP governor, among his colleagues of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that are purportedly against a decision taken by their ruling party in government?

By his disposition, Governor Diri at all times, in his deeds and actions, promotes the peace and unity of Nigeria. He would therefore not engage in any activity that would undermine his party or even the corporate existence of the country.