Use of old naira notes: what next for the working class?

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A lot of Nigerians were happy when Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria confirmed the bank’s compliance with the Supreme Court ruling for the old naira notes to remain legal tender till the end of December. But it is important to critically examine how much change this would make in the lives of working people in the country.  The CBN authority had tactically delayed its acceptance of the continuous spending of old notes for several weeks after the court declaration.

This tactic was employed to ensure that a large chunk of the old notes must have gone out of circulation knowing that Nigerians would not take the risk of  keeping old notes that they might not be able to spend. Hence, while the news might go round that the CBN has carved into obeying the ruling of the highest court in the land, after the president’s washing his hands off any step otherwise, less emphasis is placed on how the CBN will ensure old notes go back into circulation to address the problem of scarcity of naira. Only the few old notes that people could not get to lodge in the bank before the initial deadline are still available. By this, what is evident on the street is that the suffering of Nigerian workers continues even after the ineffective concession by the CBN.

Meanwhile, even as we welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling, despite being late in coming, the Nigerian working people should  not forget that the judiciary, just like every other structures of the state is created to primarily serve the interests of the ruling class.

Also, the claim of Major General Muhammadu Buhari that the Federal Government of Nigeria has been law abiding under his presidency is a ruse. The presidency has chosen to disobey scores of court orders over the last eight years, leading many newspaper establishments and both local and international NGOs to call out the government as a lawless one.

Further, the fact that Nigerians had to wait for Buhari and Emefiele to make a public statement on the court rule, is another confirmation of the notoriety of Buhari’s government for holding the decisions of their court in contempt. 

It shows that the working people cannot have an illusion in the judiciary or the presidency. Even as Buhari and his cheerleaders continue to claim the naira redesign was meant to stop vote buying in the 2023 general elections, what was witnessed in the just concluded elections was massive vote buying through credit card and mobile transfer.

There is equally video evidence of how dollars rained in some polling booths across the country in vote buying transaction. In all ways, the only people that have suffered and continue to  suffer from this naira policy design are the working people without billions in their account while the ruling class embezzling state fund are not in anyway affected.

The Nigerian working class must as a matter of fact understand the fact that when the chips are down, we cannot rely on the courts or the presidency to ensure we win what is best for us. We need to organize and wage revolutionary struggle to overthrow the system in which our suffering flourishes and build a socialist society which is only where we, the working people, can ensure that our interests are guaranteed.

by Lekan Abdul-Azeez SONEYE

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