By: Taiwo Amodu – Abuja
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has dispelled insinuation that the apex bank under his leadership was in league with certain forces bent on frustrating the forthcoming general elections.
Emefiele made the remarks when the Chairman of the Indepedent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu expressed concern over the scarcity of the new Naira Notes when the latter paid him a visit on Tuesday.
Professor Yakubu specifically tasked the apex bank to address the challenge of Naira notes distribution, 17 days to the general elections.
Emefiele, who said the apex bank has always offered assistance to the electoral umpire in the area of logistics for elections, assured Professor Yakubu to count on the CBN support for a seamless conduct of the general elections.
He said:” The relationship between INEC and the Central Bank of Nigeria dates back to before I became the Governor of the bank. Those relationships are those that bother on trust and confidence and we do appreciate the fact that INEC and the Nigerian people have the trust and confidence on the capability of the Central Bank to play the role that we have played for you and through you to the Nigerian people to ensure that our elections hold without hitches.
“Before now, we have been involved in the storage of INEC election materials and using its armoured bullion vans in transporting those election materials. We are happy that in the course of this relationship, we have not disappointed you. That is the reason we are called again this time. Aside storage of election materials and transportation of these materials from CBN locations to specific or designated locations where you want them to be, I know just a few months ago, I visited your office and you raised the issue of how foreign exchange can be procured by you to import BVAS and other election materials and I gave you my word on that. I stand here to confirm that as at today, all dollars that is needed to import those items has been provided and those items have been imported. It’s all part of our commitment.
“On the issue of paying for logistics for people who are going to be transporting election materials to the ward abd polling unit levels, the assurance I give to you is that, because we regard the INEC project as topmost and urgent national project, it cannot fail and the Central Bank will not allow itself either to be seen or the CBN to allow itself to be seen as an agent to frustrate a positive outcome of that project. So, I seat here to give you that commitment that whatever you need will be provided because you have been responsible in the past. It is not just about cash, we have done electronic payment before.
“If in this case, after making electronic payment, you require some cash to pay transporters, the assurance I give to you is that we will make it available. So, it’s nothing to worry about. I am happy that you have come here with journalists, for them to hear me and they have heard me and I will make sure that I will not fail. We will not allow ourselves in the Central Bank to be seen as an agent that frustrated the positive outcome of the election”.
The INEC Chairman further told his host that his Commission had since transferred all its accounts both at the state and national level to the apex bank and it would need to pay cash for some of the services being rendered to the Commission.
Yakubu said his commission was encouraged by the willingness and support from the CBN to enable the electoral umpire conduct credible elections, especially in facilitating the movement and self keeping of electoral materials.
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