Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s nominee for president, asked Nigerians to have patience while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) implements the new currency since it will have “some major long-term economic and social benefits.”
The appeal was made by Mr. Obi in a tweet early on Sunday.
“I urge Nigerians to bear with the CBN and Federal Government with the hope that the general populace and Nigeria will harvest the gains that will come with the reforms,” Mr Obi said in the tweet.
“The makeover of the currency is not unique to Nigeria. Although it is a workout with some discomfort and pain, it offers substantial long-term economic and social benefits. The governor of the South-east state of Anambra, Mr. Obi, who was previously the chairman of Fidelity Bank, acknowledged that there was room for improvement.
To alleviate the suffering of his fellow Nigerians, particularly the poor and those who live distant from banks in rural areas, Mr. Obi encouraged the CBN to “expedite efforts to make the new currency available to small depositors and the unbanked.”
The CBN and the federal government have received criticism from many Nigerians over the policy, which has made life difficult due to the shortage of new notes.
Nigerians have referred to the strategy as “anti-people,” including Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike.
Mr. Buhari on Friday encouraged Nigerians to give him seven days to address the nationwide cash shortage despite the pain the program has caused.
Yemi Osinbajo, the vice president of Nigeria, criticized the policy on Friday and bemoaned the difficulties it has brought about.
In response to widespread criticism, the CBN last Sunday extended the deadline from January 31 until February 10.