Daily Watch – Osun & Akwa Ibom creak as election rulings bite, CBN extends naira note deadline

30th January 2023

The Osun chapter of the All Progressives Congress on Sunday said protests in the state against the judgment of the state Election Petition Tribunal that sacked Governor Ademola Adeleke were sponsored. In reaction, the Osun PDP acting chairman Akindele Adekunle said Saturday’s protests indicated that the people rejected the panel’s verdict. Last Friday, the tribunal sacked Adeleke as governor and declared his predecessor Gboyega Oyetola as the winner of the 16 July 2022 election. Justice Tetsea Kume, while delivering a majority decision said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not comply substantially with the Constitution and the provisions of the Electoral Act. He subsequently deducted the over-voting observed from the votes scored by the candidates and declared that Oyetola polled 314,921 votes with Adeleke clocking in 290,266 votes. On the same day, the Federal High Court in Abuja sacked Umo Eno as the PDP’s governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom. Justice Fadima Aminu ordered the PDP to submit Michael Enyong’s name to the INEC as its candidate. In the suit filed in August 2022, Enyong insisted submitted that he won the party’s May 2022 primaries conducted, an earlier court order having restrained the PDP from utilising its list of ad-hoc delegates to conduct its primary. Since Eno won on the strength of the ad-hoc delegate pool, his victory was nullified by the court.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the deadline for the swap of old naira notes at commercial banks by 10 days to 10 February. People will still be able to deposit their old notes directly with the CBN until 17 February in what the regulator described as “grace period”. Various groups had complained about the inability to swap their old notes for the new designs as the January 31 deadline loomed. CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele said on Sunday that as a result of measures put in place to ease the scarcity, President Muhammadu Buhari has given approval for the deadline extension. The naira redesign is believed to be targeted at stopping vote buying in the 2023 general election scheduled for 25 February and 11 March. The CBN previously said it would not extend the deadline despite pressure from the National Assembly.

Ghana’s balance of payments further deteriorated to a deficit of $3.64 billion in December from a $3.4 billion deficit the previous quarter, central bank data showed on Saturday. Recent balance of payments woes has been largely driven by a sharp reversal in capital flows, with Ghana’s capital account deficit having worsened to $2.18 billion in December from $1.64 billion in September. At the same time last year, Ghana had a capital account surplus of more than $3.3 billion.

Italian energy giant Eni signed an $8 billion gas deal with Libya’s state-run National Oil Corporation on Saturday as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited Tripoli. Eni said it was the first major project in Libya since early 2000 and involved the development of two offshore gas fields. “The combined gas production from the two structures will start in 2026 and reach a plateau of 750 million standard gas cubic feet per day,” Eni said in a statement. “Production will be ensured through two main platforms tied into the existing treatment facilities at the Mellitah Complex,” 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of the capital, it added. Eni has an 80 percent share of Libya’s gas production. The agreement was signed in the presence of Meloni and her host Abdulhamid Dbeibah, who heads the UN-brokered Government of National Unity which a rival administration in the east contests.