By G9ija

Chairman of Southern Senators Forum, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele has disclosed that Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the most potent threat to the 2023 general elections.

Bamidele’s disclosure was at a one-day public hearing held by the National Assembly joint Committee on INEC and Electoral Matters.

Bamidele said going by the problem acute Naira scarcity being faced by Nigerians, the Central Bank of Nigeria is the most outstanding threat to the elections.

He said the plan of selectivity of cash withdrawal INEC worked out with the CBN on Tuesday was not assuring as far as smooth conduct of the elections was concerned.

He said: “The CBN told us at the beginning of the policy that the targets were the so-called moneybags who stashed away billions in their closets. We thought those are the people they want to get at.

“We are now seeing that it is the ordinary man on the streets suffering. They are sleeping in the banking hall because they cannot have access to the little money they have. We must understand the political economy of an electoral process.

“People are thinking of the money politicians would spend on vote buying, they don’t know that political parties would also mobilise people to all the polling units as agents, just like the INEC would mobilise personnel also.

“Today, the CBN is assuring Nigerians that it would provide money for INEC if they need more money.

“Are we saying that INEC must rely on the intervention of the CBN for it to perform?

“If the police run into logistics problems, they would also run to CBN for selective intervention.

“We are fighting Boko Haram, so if the military authorities could not access funds from their banks, they will also need to approach the CBN for selective intervention.

“These are issues and as a stakeholder, the CBN is the most outstanding threat to these elections holding as scheduled.

“The INEC should do its best. When the political class appears to have held the nation to ransom as it appears now, it is the judiciary that will have to stand up and save the nation from the jugular of the political class.

“There is definitely a cabal that does not want this election to hold but let us remind them those who call themselves the cabal, under President Olusegun Obasanjo they became irrelevant after that. Ditto for those who constituted themselves as cabal under late President Umaru Yar’adua and President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The current situation shall also pass. The nation is at a crossroads and all stakeholders must stand up in defence of our democracy.”