Osinbajo buying votes with TraderMoni –Obasanjo

.VP: You’re ignorant of poverty reduction scheme

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has ac cused Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of buying votes ahead of the February 16 and March 2nd elections with the distribution of N10,000 to poor Nigerians. The former President raised concerns on the timing and implementation of the TraderMoni scheme by the Federal Government. But Osinbajo described the former President as being ignorant on the benefits and focus of the TraderMoni programme.
He said that the Federal Government’s desire in implementing the scheme was to reduce poverty across the country.
Obasanjo also accused the Vice President, whose office coordinates the programme, as feigning ignorance on how suspicious the TraderMoni is, as an attempt by the Federal Government to influence the elections. The former President stated this in his 16-page address, titled, ‘Points for concern and action’.
He said: “The timing is also suspect. Those who criticise the action are called evil, but they are not evil, as they know what they are doing and saying, and they love Nigeria and Nigerians not less than the likes of Osinbajo. They are not devils incarnate; they are patriots.”
The former Nigerian leader questioned the relationship between the TraderMoni scheme and the rationale for government officials demanding the Permanent Voters’ Card (PVCs) numbers of the beneficiaries.
According to him, “What is the connection between taking the number of PVC of the recipient of the N10,000 doled out to ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election?
“There is something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all people, should know that. With collusion of the INEC officials and card readers not made to work, anybody quoting the PVC number may be allowed to vote as the revised Electoral Bill was not signed. And if that happens all over the country, it will be massive rigging indeed,” he added.
The former President, who described the Trade-Moni scheme as an absurdity, said the manner in which Osinbajo goes about distribution of the N10,000 was an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office.
He said, in civilized climes, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for “gutting our collective treasury.”
“What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, lawyer, number 2 man in the Executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye.
“Osinbajo must have gone for, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. A great pity indeed and which makes people ask the questions, “Any hope?” Yes, for me, there is hope. Osinbajo has shown the human weakness and proved the saying that the corruption of the best is the worst form of corruption. His explanation that it was their government’s programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outright idiotic programme.
“Traders in rural and sub-urban areas of Nigeria are many more than those in urban areas and they are much poorer than traders in Lagos, Abuja and other cities.
They need more attention and greater help. Are they to be confined to the heap of perpetual poverty? What of those who are not traders? They are not entitled to handout and they can languish in penury? And what about millions who have lost their jobs in the last three and a half years?”
However, Osinbajo, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said Obasanjo’s comment on the scheme showed clearly that he did not understand the import of the programme.
“It is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission,” he said. The vice president said Obasanjo has demonstrated “a surprising, but complete misunderstanding of the workings of Trader- Moni.”
Osinbajo said: “While one will not bother to further address the issue of timing of the implementation since such issues are now known to be political posturing, it is important to note that TraderMoni is being actively implemented across all states of the federation and the FCT. It is not only Lagos and Abuja as was insinuated.
“These petty traders at the bottom of the economic ladder, with an inventory often less than N5,000, are beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme, which provides N10,000 collateral/ interest-free loans to them, empowerment that improves their small businesses, their families, while also contributing significantly to the economy.
“To label such people-friendly scheme as idiotic is not only an absurdity, it is also an affront to the sensibilities of these hard working Nigerians, the beneficiaries of the microcredit scheme.
“TraderMoni is designed to meet the needs of the larger population of petty traders at the bottom of the pyramid who do not meet the more stringent criteria of BVN, bank accounts, market associations, and cooperatives, required for bigger Market Moni loans. “The former president also rehashed discredited claims suggesting that TraderMoni beneficiaries were required to tender their PVCs, and questioned the timing of the implementation.
“Beneficiaries of TraderMoni are not required to show their PVCs or any document indicating their political affiliations to qualify for the loans. This is why the enumeration is done in the open markets and wherever the traders ply their trade. This issue has been addressed several times by the Presidency in the public space. Therefore, the former president’s alleged comments smirk of outright mischief as it regurgitates blatant falsehood.
“Equally, if the former president had conducted a simple act of diligence, he would have found that the National Assembly had approved this programmes and budgeted for them duly.” He said being a former president; Obasanjo ordinarily should appreciate the impact of such farreaching social investment scheme.
“Finally, attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the masses of our people is a direct attack on the people and this kind of conduct does not reflect very well on a former president, but is only self-denigrating and of no public value. We, therefore, urge the former president to be far more circumspect and more public-spirited in his utterances going forward,” he said.

News Category: