Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser Media and Publicity to the President, Muhammadu Buhari, has revealed he is also affected by the naira scarcity caused by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s currency redesign.
The aide, explaining how he has been surviving despite the new naira scarcity affecting the country in an article titled “Living on shoestring budget,” added that for one week he has been spending N20,000.
Adesina said he, alongside some others, had left for a journey that would take them to “Bauchi, Lagos, Senegal, Katsina, Kano, and Jigawa” from January 23 to January 31.
Describing the journey as one with a key denomination of the naira to be legal tender, he said, “I didn’t want to be like the unwise cripple, who had been told that war was approaching, but who stayed put in the same spot. So I parked everything I had, every dime, and sent it to the bank. I didn’t want my modest funds to become something fit only for the museum.”
“The Central Bank of Nigeria later secured a ten days extension of the deadline from President Muhammadu Buhari, which has now been further extended by a Supreme Court ruling. But it has not changed the fact that I’ve been spending the sum of N20,000 for one week, and I’m still spending it. Shoestring budget? Yes, you are right. That’s what it is.”
According to him, he spent N6,000 for three days and by Friday, it shrunk to N2, 500.00.
Explaining that government officials are also in the plight as the masses, he proverbed, “The hen sweats, but its feathers make the sweat indiscernible.”
He further disclosed calling his banker to explain his plight to him but the banker laughed at him.
“After seeing that I was serious, he said the best he could do was get N20,000.00 for me, through the Automated Teller Machine, which was his own entitlement for the day. Well, beggars can’t be choosers, and half bread, as they say, is better than none.
“I sent my driver to collect the money, and promptly cancelled all the engagements I had lined up for the weekend. When you stay in your house, watching football and making yourself happy, you need not spend much money, if at all,” he said.
In his rant, he revealed he had to confront the first challenge of filling his fuel car tank which was almost empty and would take about N15,000 to fill it up.
Nonetheless, he decided to buy N8,000 fuel “From Friday till the following Wednesday, I became very gentle, (by force) stretching N12,000.00 as far as I could. Fortunately, there was enough food at home. If there wasn’t, I would drink garri and groundnuts. And why not? That was what the times called for. Pragmatism. No pain, no gain. It was my own contribution to the success of a policy that was bound to do our country good,” he said.
However, he described attacks on banks, looting of shops and engagement in civil disobedience as unnecessary.
While advising Nigerians not to take laws into their hands, noting that with time naira will be surplus in the country, he said, “Cash is coming, more than we need, and our national economy, the political process, and our lives generally, shall be the better for it. Just a little while, and the halcyon days will come. But for now, no pain, no gain. We will surely get there.”