In 2007, a new N20 note was introduced to Nigerians by Charles Soludo.
The N20 note was chosen to test run the strength of the polymer currency because N20 was believed to be the most used currency in the country. To make the other currencies last longer, N5, N10, and N50 paper notes were varnished on both sides. All those new notes had cost implications that Nigerians were forced to bear. Yes, you and I paid for it.
In 2009 despite mixed reactions, the new CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi further increased the polymer notes from just N20 to N5, N10 and N50 after they had been in circulation for just two years. Those new notes cost money and Nigerians bore the cost-Again.
After the Financial Times and Time Magazine gave him awards in 2011, (like most Nigerian office holders) SLS allowed it to get to his head. His utterances started becoming more absurd (before and during the occupy protests) and his policies more unrealistic to the Nigerian people (introducing a cashless policy in a country with about 40% literacy rates, no electricity and bad networks). But in all of Sanusi’s gaffe’s the most absurd has to be the introduction of N5000 note a few days ago.
Keep in mind I have no fancy masters in a foreign country like Sanusi and being a lawyer, my maths is crappy at best, but how does introducing a higher denomination help the cashless policy he has already imposed on Nigerians? The way my mind works, if I am already carrying all (or most) of my money in a card, why would I need to have a N5000 note? No one needs N5000 if all they need is in their card-at least that’s what logic points at!
The thing is I am a tax payer so I don’t appreciate my money being spent around uselessly. Its bad enough that I pay for Sanusi’s salary but to pay for his whims, that’s pushing it too far. It is difficult for me to understand why the CBN governor wants to redesign the existing N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1000 notes to add “new security features”. Without Nigeria’s agreement or opinion being asked, SLS has taken a decision we don’t want, and he expects us to pay for it. Does he know that women are starving without food, kids are dying without medicine and old men are collapsing on their way to the farm? We need to sort out our priorities and stop concentrating on glossy eye service!
Oh, have I mentioned that in 2010 in celebration of Nigeria’s 50th anniversary, Sanusi started printing new notes with the 50th anniversary logo. Mama told me that nothing comes for free so I’ll just assume we paid for that too.
Down to the issue of coin: if you coin it, you might as well call it ‘out of circulation’ and stop beating around the bush. At least be man enough to tell us (what we already know) that the Naira is sh*te and we with inflation, we won’t be able to use N5 and N10 anymore.
I’ll tell you what Sanusi, we are used to different government organisations heading in different directions but rarely have we seen one heading in different directions. You need to get your act together and stop imposing hardships on Nigerians. If it does not make the quality of life better for the old woman toiling the land to feed herself or the boy washing cars to make end meet, then swallow your pride and call this sham off just like you should the cashless policy that was ill thought out.