How CBN’s Cash Withdrawal Limit Policy is Promoting Acceptance of e-Naira
Weeks after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) put a limit on the daily and weekly cash withdrawals for individuals and corporate organizations, many Nigerians have expressed the willingness to give the e-Naira option a chance in order to cope with the reality of the policy.
A survey by Economic Confidential shows that more Nigerians have either joined the e-Naira train or have expressed the willingness to do so since the CBN is not yielding to pressure to back down on the cash withdrawal limit policy.
On the 25th of October 2021, President Buhari and Mr Emefiele launched the e-Naira digital currency in Abuja. The launch came with already minted 500 million e-Naira ($1.21 million).
At the launch of the e-Naira, a lot of Nigerians were not enthusiastic about the innovation as they were skeptical about its workability in the country.
The currency was actually developed by the fintech company, Bitt, based in the Caribbean. It is the digital form of the Nigerian physical Naira currently in circulation. It is issued by the CBN in line with Section 19 of the CBN Act. In essence, it is a direct liability of the apex bank. Built on a blockchain open ledger technology that prevents duplication or creation of fake units, each e-Naira note is unique and different.
The e-Naira is simply a digital currency issued and backed by the authority of the federal government and is a legal tender equivalent to physical cash. It is quite unlike Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that have no backing from established authorities. The e-Naira is pegged against the traditional Naira and will not fluctuate due to market influence at a different rate from the traditional Naira. The e-Naira basically eases transactions and offers digital stability, thus reducing the need for physical cash.
Unlike conventional digital banking however which involves customers transacting with money maintained by them in a bank, eNaira is actual money earned and maintained by customers in their e-wallets.
The e-Naira has since 2021 complemented our traditional Naira as a less costly, more efficient, generally acceptable, safe and trusted means of payment.
The vision of the Emefiele-led CBN is for e-Naira to facilitate financial inclusion, reduce so-called “leakages” from state budgets due to in-built traceability that uses blockchain technology, enable direct welfare disbursements to citizens, facilitate diaspora remittances, reduce the cost of processing cash, improve the availability and usability of Central Bank money, increase revenue and tax collection, support a resilient payment system, improve the efficiency of cross-border payments and to reduce the high cost of printing the physical currency, which amounted to N307bn between 2014 and 2019.
The Economic Confidential
The Economic magazine gathered from a cross-section of Nigerians, especially traders, artisans, and students, that there is a new wave of enthusiasm and desire to register on the e-Naira platform to aid business transactions in the wake of the limitations the new cash withdrawal policy would impose on them.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had pushed for Nigeria to become the first African country to embrace the e-Naira. In accomplishing this feat, he and his surrogates had repeatedly explained that the e-Naira would serve the same purpose as the physical cash but in a more efficient and safer way.
The Director of Information and Technology at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the coordinator of the eNaira project, Hajia Rakiya Mohammed Shuaib gave reason for the launch of the eNaira and how it will drive the government’s cashless policy.
According to the IT specialist, eNaira allows user to do transactions peer to peer just like with crypto and cash.
Rakiya said: “eNaira is a legal tender, which means it is backed by law and it is exchanged one to one with the naira, so everything you can do with cash, you can do the same with Naira.
“You can access the eNaira on the phone. With the introduction of the USSD you can dial *997# and conduct your transaction. So, we are bringing in the people who hitherto could only use cash by being physically present where the transaction is happening to an online version, a digital economy space where you are confident the value of that eNaira is still the same as cash,” Rakiya said
The CBN had in a viral circular on December 6 2022 instructed banks and other financial institutions to restrict the daily withdrawal of cash by individuals to N20,00 and N100,000 weekly and N500,000 weekly for corporate organizations. After much pressure from concerned Nigerians, the CBN changed the daily withdrawal limit to N50, 000 for individuals and N500,000 weekly and increased that for corporate organizations to N5,000,000 weekly. For third-party cheques, the Bank decreed that they can’t be withdrawn in cash if it exceeds N100,000.
The apex bank went ahead to impose extra taxes and stringent conditions on any attempt to cross the daily or weekly threshold for cash withdrawals.
“Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels (internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc.) to conduct their banking transactions,” CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, wrote in a December 21 circular.
Taking about alternatives, e-Naira is gradually becoming the darling of most Nigerians due to the limitless opportunities it offers for digital banking.
The Phasing of Old Naira
According to the Economic Confidential survey, another recent CBN policy that is aiding the acceptance of the e-naira is the phasing out of old naira notes and the imposition of new ones as legal tender.
As part of efforts to clean up the economy and save the Naira from the free fall it has experienced in recent years, the CBN also recently announced the introduction of new N200, N500 and N1000 notes. While the new notes were launched by President Buhari on November 22, 2022, the old notes will no longer be legal tender by January 31, 2023. This reality is one of the reasons more Nigerians are embracing the e-Naira.
The Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) also on January 6 this year announced a total ban on any form of cash withdrawal from government or public accounts at federal, state and local government levels, saying from March 1 this year, it would be a criminal offence for any government official to take any amount from public coffers in cash under any guise.
The combination of the above-named policies is forcing Nigerians to see e-Naira as the last hope. As far as some of the Nigerians we spoke to are concerned, the federal government, through the CBN and the NFIU, is showing a lot of seriousness and determination to push the transition to a cashless economy as seen in the coordinated policies being churned out lately.
According to the CBN, the e-Naira recorded over 700,000 transactions worth N8bn within a year of its launch.
The apex bank said e-Naira recently reached 840,000 downloads, with about 270,000 active wallets comprising more than 252,000 consumer wallets and 17,000 merchant wallets.
N3.00 billion has been successfully minted by the Bank. N2.10 billion has been issued to financial institutions.
About 1.0 million (919,000) customers have been onboarded. 33 banks are fully integrated and live on the platform.
Over 3,305 merchants have successfully registered on the e-Naira platform across the country including Shoprite, Sahad Stores, A.A. Rano fuelling stations, Fraser Suites, and November Cubes, among others.
There are also over 2.5 million daily visits to the eNaira website.
A UK-based Nigerian economist, Mr Elvis Otsemehuno Ogah, told Economic Confidential that the introduction of the e-Naira was a masterstroke in the efforts by the government to control needless cash flows, reduce the cost of printing currency, transit to full cashless economy and stabilise the monetary system in the country.
“The e-Naira was introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2021 to serve as both a medium of exchange and a store of value. Largely overlooked at the beginning, it has now begun to gain traction in terms of acceptance and usage by the Nigerian public. The reason isn’t far-fetched. In the last quarter of 2022, the country’s apex bank announced a new set of monetary policies, among which was capping daily cash withdrawals. This singular act has driven the public to seek alternative means of making legitimate transactions, and unsurprisingly, the e-Naira which upon its official launch was greeted with scepticism is now the attractive and reliable payment instrument people are turning to.”
Talking about its positive impact on individuals and the system at large, the scholar said: “The e-Naira has helped plug the gap occasioned by the withdrawal limit policy as people can now proceed with even larger transactions using their computers or mobile phones without human or physical contact with the traditional legal tender. From the microeconomic level, many individuals appreciate the fact that transacting with the e-Naira requires no intermediaries, enables seamless transfer of value and makes transaction costs cheaper. Many bank accounts today charge their users a monthly fee for account maintenance. Many of them also drain customers with hidden fees and charges for using your account. But anybody can create a free e-Naira wallet, and nobody charges them any fees. They also make for faster payment, across borders.”
“From the macroeconomic prism, economies that are more cash intensive tend to grow slowly and miss out on significant benefits. Conversely, as research by the global consulting firm, Boston Consulting Group, shows, economies that switch to digital are more successful; the switch can boost annual GDP by as much as 3 percentage points,” he added.
Mr Ogah commended Mr Emefiele for the ‘CBN’s strategic plan to sanitize the cash ecosystem’ which he said no one can fault.
What Nigerians are Saying
Tari Silva, an investment banker based in Port Harcourt, told our correspondent that as someone who should know better, he took the decision to enrol in the e-naira platform immediately it was announced long before the launch. And after the launch, he enrolled immediately and he has learnt how to do business and buy stuff without cash and he is not regretting it at all. He agreed with the belief that the recent coordinated policies of the CBN and others are forcing people to embrace the e-Naira. According to him, at the end of the day they will have no reason to regret doing so.
Still in Port Harcourt, Andrew Biboye, a trader, said he had an encounter with promoters of the e-Naira from CBN and since then he has embraced the concept fully. He added that most of his friends who joined the e-Naira platform recently were motivated by the cash withdrawal limit policy.
Dr Gideon Yakubu, a resident of Kaduna, told our correspondent, at Arewa House in the heart of the city, that he is one of the many Nigerians who had recently embraced the e-Naira option due to the emphasis the federal government has placed on the pursuit of cashless economy in recent months.
“I had to go through the process last week and enrol in it in order to move with the trend. It is obvious that carrying a lot of cash will no longer be fashionable in the coming months and years and all you have to do is to watch the body language of the monetary policy makers in the country. Everyday they keep coming up with new monetary policy in order to emphasise the fact that digital banking has come to stay and we cannot wish it away. And I will call on all Nigerians to consider e-Naira because it is efficient and safe and it helps to solve the problem of too much cash in the system with its attendant consequences,” he said.
Hajiya Aisha Umar, a textile trader at Kantinkwali Market in Kano, said she didnt fully understand the impact of e-naira even though she saw on television that it was launched with pomp and pageantry by President Buhari in 2021. She however confessed that her two daughters who are into similar business with her take advantage of the opportunities e-Naira offers using their smart phones. “My daughters have tried to explain the concept to me but I am yet to get involved. But you know like every new thing that comes, it takes time before all of us will fully embrace it,” she said.
Alhaja Islamiyat Folawiyo, another textile trader in Balogun Market, Lagos, used the opportunity to vent about the hurried manner the CBN forced the cash withdrawal limit policy on Nigerians without taking into consideration the peculiarities of traders like her who deal in heavy cash sales on a daily basis. She however noted that she had had from younger folks that the e-Naira has come to stay and that the country will have to embrace it fully.
Umar Dan Musa, a student of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria also confessed to Economic Confidential that he had recently joined the e-Naira train in order to adjust to the cashless reality that the CBN is trying to implement . The final year student who also owns a barbing shop near the Samaru Campus said e-Naira is desirable and credible, adding that he had convinced a lot of his friends to also embrace it.
Abdulrahman Abdulraheem is Managing Editor of Economic Confidential
How to plan your relocation overseas
The thought of relocating out of Nigeria to countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Scotland, and others can be a thrilling experience.
This is as relocating outside the country for greener pastures, which is popularly called ‘japa’, if fast becoming the dream of many of the country’s teeming population of young people.
James Adefemi, a young man in his late twenties is one of many Nigerians who scaled several travel hurdles to start a new life in the United Kingdom.
According to him the decision to relocate to the United Kingdom was both an exciting and adventurous experience that he had looked forward to.
However, nothing prepared him for the financial and emotional challenges that come with migrating to a new country.
While speaking to The PUNCH, Adefemi says, “Relocating out of Nigeria is a very demanding process and I think that’s the part most people don’t get to talk about. It is demanding financially, mentally, emotionally, and time demanding.”
He narrates that his journey started in 2018 after his National Youth service corps. “I decided to travel to the UK for my master’s programme, but money was a major issue so I decided to give my plans one more year so that I could save up some money,” he says.
Adefemi shares that his plans to save did not go as planned, “Considering my monthly salary that year. Anyway, I applied to a few schools and got admission. I also applied for a scholarship that took most of my time because it went from one stage of essay writing to another.
“Thank God for the scholarship because it lifted quite a lot of my financial burden in terms of tuition. It wasn’t a full scholarship so I still had quite some money to pay.”
He laments a major factor that makes relocating out of Nigeria a huge financial burden is the exchange rate. “It’s crazy how you are converting a few pounds or dollars to millions of naira,” he says.
Adefemi’s story replicates the case of many Nigerians looking to leave the country in search of greener pastures and better quality of living
According to a recent by Pew Research survey, an estimated adult population of 45 per cent in Nigeria has plans to relocate to another country within five years.
From the 12 countries surveyed, Nigerians topped the list. A report by the African polling unit in 2021 further revealed that seven out of every 10 Nigerians were making plans to leave the country. But as much as the idea of relocation may be the answer to many problems, preparing adequately is a countermeasure to avoid the strain of leaving the country.
Adefemi explains that, “Apart from the tuition fee, the visa application process was another financial burden., from the visa fee to health insurance even to the flight ticket. At some point, it felt like the expenses couldn’t stop coming. I remember I had to pay for priority visa application because the standard visa application process was taking more time than normal and I needed to be in school as soon as possible.”
According to him, his family was a major support system during this period and that helped to make the journey easier.
Generally, personal finance experts urge Nigerians to focus on putting up a financial plan for the long and short-term of their migration goals.
Former Financial Manager at Wales Bank Asset Management, Racheal Alabi, says that she made research into the cost of relocation.
She says, “I remember a Youtuber mentioning the cost of migrating in pounds and then I hurried to check the equivalent in naira and I was shocked. She spent N12m and this was just on school fees and accommodation, without the cost of other things. And it just dawned on me that people who are relocating have money or had it all planned.”
According to her, the first thing for anyone looking to relocate is to, “research because if I did not do my research, I wouldn’t know that it costs that much to relocate. And that’s where financial planning comes into place.
“For instance, I know someone who is about to relocate and he has been planning for two years now; and that’s because he took the time to calculate the cost of relocating to his destination country.”
Alabi explains that individuals also have to ask crucial questions for relocation to get clarity in order to plan well.
She says,” How much is a flight trip? What am I going there to do? Do I want to study? How much will my tuition cost even if I have a scholarship?”
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It is also important to review one’s current financial status, Alabi reveals. She says, “My friend who has relocated made this decision two years ago but knew at the time that he did not have the financial capacity to embark on such an action. What he started doing was taking on multiple jobs. This is where financial planning comes to play.”
Individuals also need to create a structured budget system to ensure that every relocation goal is met because migrating to a new country largely bothers money.
Alabi says, “You want to have a budget too. For instance, if I know that relocating to the United Kingdom will cost $50,000 and I have only $5,000, so I need $45,000 to go. What should I do? I have to increase my income. But this does not translate into anything if I do not have a budget and massive saving plan.”
Alibi says that, “After you leave the country, I emphasise the need for individuals to have emergency funds because you are moving into a new environment. Sometimes it also helps people when they know someone that stays there; it reduces the burden of rent. But the emergency fund will prepare you for any financial shock because anything can happen.”
Emergency funds are stocked-up funds that you can use when you have unplanned expenses.
She adds, “An emergency fund is like money for rainy days. But in Nigeria, some people say it is always raining. On the contrary, emergency funds will sustain you up till the time when you get a stable income and protect you from financial pressure. So, it is advisable to have up to six months of emergency funds saved up.”
Travel Manager, Wayfare Travels, Omoyeni Kolawole, advises that Nigerians who want to relocate should ensure they have all the necessary documents to travel and reside in the destination country.
“This may include a valid passport, visa, work permit, and any other relevant documents,” Kolawole says.
Building a network is a secure way to ensure that you don’t run into any hiccups in the new country.
Kolawole explains, “Other Nigerians in the destination country can help Nigerians who want to relocate to find job opportunities, housing, and other resources. This can be done through social media platforms like LinkedIn, attending networking events, or reaching out to professional associations.”
Kolawole tells The PUNCH that this is one area that is applicable when Nigerians are travelling to a country where English is not the lingua franca.
The travel manager says, “We do not talk about this enough, it is either you are learning the language of the destination country or you are going to an English-speaking country which limits your options.
“Learning a language can help Nigerians who want to relocate to communicate effectively and integrate into the new culture. They can take language classes, practice with native speakers, or use language learning apps.”
He adds that Nigerians looking to relocate should “Seek professional advice from travel consultants who are vast in relocation
“Nigerians should research the visa and immigration requirements for their destination country to ensure they have the necessary documentation to enter and reside in the country legally,” he says.
He adds that Nigerians looking to relocate should “Seek professional advice from travel consultants who are vast in relocation
“Nigerians should research the visa and immigration requirements for their destination country to ensure they have the necessary documentation to enter and reside in the country legally,” he says.
By following these tips, individuals can be sure to have a seamless relocation process devoid of unnecessary stumble blocks in form of financial constraints. constraints.
Oladipo Diya (1944 – 2023)
he ex-second-in-command did little to support democracy
He would have died prematurely about 25 years ago, following a death sentence for alleged treason. The gripping drama of his trial by a military tribunal in 1998 exposed toxic disunity in the Gen. Sani Abacha military regime in which he was second in command. Luckily for him, the commander-in-chief died on the eve of his scheduled execution, leading to his freedom.
Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya’s death on March 26, at the age of 78, brought back memories of an intensely turbulent period in the country’s history. In 1993, Abacha had ousted the controversial three-month-old Interim National Government (ING), led by a civilian, Chief Ernest Shonekan, installed by the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida military regime after the wrongful annulment of the country’s historic June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Chief M.K.O. Abiola.
Diya was appointed Chief of General Staff in 1993 and Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994, powerful positions that showed the power he had under Abacha. Indeed, he was quoted as saying, “I would have regretted if I had not served in that government.”
After escaping death by execution under the same government, Diya had his sentence commuted to a 25-year jail term by Abacha’s military successor, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, before he was eventually set free. He was later pardoned in 2013 under the President Goodluck Jonathan civilian administration.
Even after his hard time under Abacha, he was reported to have countered public criticism of the tyrannical regime, saying it “assembled one of the best cabinets ever in the country.”
His role as a major player in the anti-democratic regime, whether volitional or forced, was ultimately against the people and counter-productive for the country.
Although he became a casualty of power play in the regime, it did not redeem his collaboration with the dictator. He denied involvement in the alleged coup plot, and maintained that he was framed, but was unable to prove that he had not been part of the plot at any stage.
There were two notable assassination attempts on him, allegedly by Abacha’s loyalists, before his arrest and trial for treason alongside others. His fall reflected the unravelling of military rule in the country caused by internal conflicts within the military.
In post-humous tributes, President Muhammadu Buhari said as a military officer he “was known for his brilliance, exceptional organisational skills, and discipline,” and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Lucky Irabor said he “made positive impacts on the Armed Forces of Nigeria he served meritoriously for 33 years.”
Born in Odogbolu, in present-day Ogun State, Diya was trained at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, and the US Army School of Infantry. He also attended the Command and Staff College, Jaji, and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies. He studied Law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, during his years in the military.
He fought in the Nigerian Civil War (1967 -1970), was military governor of Ogun State (1984 -1985), General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Nigerian Army in 1985, Commandant, National War College (1991–1993) and Chief of Defence Staff.
His political role was a result of military intervention in Nigerian politics. Significantly, Diya and his military co-adventurers unwittingly demonstrated the anomaly of military rule.
After his years in power, he observed in a 2015 interview: “Now, I’m a grown-up person. I prefer to remain in the backseat and watch events from the sidelines. When it needs correction or need for you to voice out completely, you say it.” This perspective is a lesson for the country’s military. Its members should shun political adventurism, which is usually a path to unexplained wealth at the expense of the people.
”I was saved by the grace of the Almighty God. Life belongs to God. It is His to give and take at a time decided only by Him,” he said in a moment of thankfulness. This is a point to ponder.
Tinubu’s Advantage Of Disadvantage
Any person who is a lover of books must endeavour to read a book titled: “David and Goliath” authored by Malcolm Gladwell, the famous author of Tipping Point. David and Goliath is a practical yet philosophical exploration of the Advantage of Disadvantage as well as the Disadvantage of Advantage.
I want to contextualise the recent presidential election bearing this philosophy in mind. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had said before the election that it was his turn to be President. It seemed like a statement of entitlement and that word emilokan has earned a place in our political vocabulary.
But he did not fully know what hurdles had been piled on his path from several angles. It was when he wore his battle gear and went into the field of battle that it dawned on him that he may have underestimated the roadblocks he needed to scale over on his way to Aso Rock Villa.
He may have been aware of the plot to shoehorn the Senate President Dr Ahmed Lawan into the office if all things were equal. But all things were not equal so the plot flopped because the god of fairness was on duty. If anyone deserved to be supported by President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed him it had to be Tinubu.
Tinubu it was who gathered together along with a few other persons, a number of rickety parties, stitched them together to form the all-conquering APC that had the vigour to defeat a sitting President in the presidential election of 2015. And Buhari became President.
And then came the currency issue, which was said to be targeting Tinubu, a kind of Frankenstein’s monster. If the currency matter imposed unbearable hardship of the people it was bound to reflect badly at the poll on whoever was the flagbearer of the ruling party. And in this case Tinubu would receive the anger of the voters at the polling booth.
Besides, the low rating of Buhari’s performance in office was likely to have, even remotely, a negative effect on Tinubu in the eyes of the voters. Well-informed voters would acknowledge that Tinubu held no office and could therefore not be held responsible for the faults of the Buhari government but other voters were likely to lump both the candidate and the government in power together and judge them harshly. That would affect Tinubu negatively.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had shown itself to be a fair organisation when it asked Christians to vote according to their conscience without necessarily bearing a religious bias. This seemed to give Tinubu, a Muslim who had chosen another Muslim, Shettima as his running mate, the all-clear.
Besides, his wife Oluremi is a pastor in one of the Pentecostal Churches, which is an indication that he is an open-minded person in matters of religion. Despite this, the religious hawks still thought that he did not give appropriate recognition to Christianity otherwise he would have chosen a Christian as his running mate.
They piled pressure both discreetly and blatantly for Christians not to vote for Tinubu. That may have had an impact on Tinubu’s defeat in Lagos by the Labour Party candidate Mr Peter Obi.
As the youths were massing up in various rallies for different parties in Lagos it may have crossed Tinubu’s mind that the EndSARS activists had made him a target of their attacks two years ago. They set ablaze some of his assets at his newspaper, The Nation and Television station, TVC. How would they respond to him this time that he is actually a candidate? Would they support or scorn him? That was a question to which there was no immediate answer but the fact that there was a youth revolution with Obi as the exponent posed an immediate danger to his electoral survival in Lagos and elsewhere.
Even the fact that the Igbos had been asking, fairly, for a President of Igbo extraction was a source of likely irritation to non-Igbo candidates. Some persons from Yorubaland including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Afenifere had been campaigning for an Igbo presidency with Peter Obi as the candidate. This viewpoint was likely to catch the attention of fair-minded persons in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos with the virtues of exceptionalism. Is that why Obi did very well in Lagos? Possibly.
As the campaign progressed Tinubu was being dragged to court by various persons for various reasons. In addition, some media, especially social media, were also openly hostile to Tinubu. His inability to appear at the town hall meetings organised by Arise Television was also a problem that expanded into an open confrontation between the news organisation and his campaign organisation. It took the intervention of elders in the media profession for the matter to be resolved but the residue of that conflict remained.
When the presidential election results for Lagos were released Obi of Labour Party stunned everyone by beating Tinubu and the candidate of the PDP Mr Atiku Abubakar. The results: APC 572, 606, LP 582, 454, NNPP 8, 442 and PDP 75, 750. Amazingly the results for the Senate and House of Representatives in Lagos largely favoured the APC. All the three APC senatorial candidates namely Ms Idiat Adebule, Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni and Tokunbo Abiru won the elections.
Also the APC won 20 of the 24 seats for the House of Representatives. So if the APC was so dominant in the two elections why was that dominance not extended to the presidential so that Tinubu who has been a fixture in Lagos for more than 20 years would win? My explanation is that the god of fairness never wanted him to win in Lagos so that it would not be said that he rigged it. You can only rig elections where you have reasonable control.
Without winning in Lagos the votes earned by Tinubu in other places look valid. Any talk about rigging in other places will look misplaced because if he did not rig in Lagos he would not be expected to rig in other places where he had no control. That is the advantage of disadvantage.
All of these problems were piled up on Tinubu’s path yet he won. That is the lesson from the battle between the giant Goliath and the shepherd boy David. The giant Goliath was six foot nine inches tall, wearing a bronze helmet and full body armour. He carried a javelin, a spear and a sword. An attendant preceded him, carrying a large shield. The giant asked the Israelites to choose one person to come and fight him. The shepherd boy David offered to confront the giant. And he won.
Mr Gladwell has explored several of such conflicts in his book and he believes that the act of facing imponderable odds in lopsided conflicts often produces greatness and beauty. Secondly, he thinks that we often misread such conflicts because the same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness.
The options are always these: shall I persevere or give up? Should I play by the rules or follow my own instincts? Or should I strike back or forgive? Tinubu did not give up; he followed his own instincts; he struck back with tenacity and doggedness. He did not give up in the midst of the crisis that he faced all through the campaign and election.
The crisis did not unfaze him. John F. Kennedy, the former President of the United States of America said something about the word “crisis” many years ago. He said that when written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity. Tinubu saw the danger and ignored it. He also saw the opportunity and embraced it. That was the advantage of disadvantage.
Those who believe that it is God that chooses leaders must inevitably accept that Tinubu would not have been President-elect today if God had not sanctioned it. See the array of roadblocks put on his path yet he triumphed. There must have been three gods in his corner:
(a) The god of compensation that ensured that the man who fought for the actualisation of June 12 elections and who fought Sani Abacha from here and abroad for democracy must be compensated.
(b) The god of fairness – Nigerians from all parts of the country want to have a country that is united and inclusive. That is why they subscribed to the rotation of the presidency as an article of faith. After eight years of Buhari’s presidency it ought to move to the south. Southern Governors said so. Northern Governors said so but some politicians out of greed, said No to the idea. That is why the god of fairness did not favour them in the election.
(c) The god of reciprocity: For the fact that some persons tried to block Tinubu from accessing the presidency when it is actually President Buhari who in obedience to the god of reciprocity should have been the champion of Tinubu’s project, he was bound to be rewarded.
These three gods were in Tinubu’s corner. That is why he won, warts and all. They gave him the advantage of disadvantage, a winning formula.
By Ray Ekpu