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ThursdayRapAround:Change, As They Always Say, Is Constant



By Michael Ayotunde

One constant since the beginning of time might be change, however, the fear of change is also a constant.

From time immemorial, humans have liked routine. This is because it makes them feel comfortable and in control of their milieu.

When, in essence, the Federal Government through the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele shocked the whole world with a planned redesigned of some of Nigeria’s denominations, not many saw the handwriting on the wall that the whole exercise will turn out this way.

The move according to Emefiele, was to safeguard the protection of the currency and the integrity of CBN among committee of nations. It was also to fight off unbridled counterfeiting.

Specifically, he said: “Currency management is a key function of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as enshrined in Section 2 (b) of the CBN Act 2007. Indeed, the integrity of a local legal tender, the efficiency of its supply, as well as its efficacy in the conduct of monetary policy are some of the hallmarks of a great Central Bank.

“In recent times, however, currency management has faced several daunting challenges that have continued to grow in scale and sophistication with attendant and unintended consequences for the integrity of both the CBN and the country.

“In recent years, the CBN has recorded significantly higher rates of counterfeiting especially at the higher denominations of N500 and N1,000 banknotes. Although global best practice is for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every 5–8 years, the Naira has not been redesigned in the last 20 years.”

It was based on the stated trends, problems, and facts, and in line with sections 19, subsections A and B of the CBN Act 2007, that the management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of the President to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500, and N1,000 levels.

When the fear of change becomes irrational, our ability to control it becomes a phobia, particularly an unwarranted fear of change. This is otherwise known as metathesiophobe. This class of people feel they have no control over their lives due to constant change. They tend to live in the past and are unwilling to progress, which often leads to depression which can seriously impact their professional and personal lives.

If a society or country rejects change there is no growth, no progress. The inability to change, progress, or grow can result in stagnation. Stagnation rejects realizing one’s full potential. Stagnation is not a healthy flowing river; it is an idle and stale pond.

A great Philosopher of note, Benjamin Franklin, once wrote, “When you are finished changing, you are finished”.

That said, the ‘redesigned’ notes may have after all been unveiled finally by the government.

The official unveiling was however greeted with all sorts of reactions – apparently from people who have been expecting to see something different from the old designs.

While making reference to the presidential campaign message of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 which was tagged – Change, most commentators described the new naira notes as having a striking semblance of APC’s change mantra which turned out to be mere change of government with no substance and value.

When a change occurs and it has no life in it, of what relevance is that change? This is according to some positions by concerned Nigerians.

Before now, several groups have opined that the move, as announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, to redesign and print new currency notes considering its economic implication is a way to plunge Nigeria and Nigerians into more economic dept and crises that would require many years to resuscitate.

Countering this, some officials have noted that only people with dubious motives will complain about the plan to redesign the currency.

But beyond all the claims and counter claims, what the CBN has finally unveiled, can we described this as a truly a redesigned project or mere colouration? Truly, CBN have argued that the new notes come with advanced security features which were put in place to fight off counterfeiting.

As it appears, the only noticeable change in the supposed redesigned currencies is the colour of the respective notes – N200, N500 and N1,000. Well, one may require special session with the designer to be able to ascertain whatever new features that have been added.

From all indications and beyond whatever justification CBN is trying to give, it is obvious the move was part of larger action to ensure the sanctity of the 2023 general elections.