Director General of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, Bukola Saraki, has described the Federal Government’s Microcredit Loan Scheme, popularly called ‘Trader Moni’ as sophisticated vote buying.
Saraki who doubles as Nigeria’s Senate President, also faulted the timing of the loan scheme, adding that it has been politicised to solicit votes for the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
He stated this on Friday at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja.
Designed to help petty traders expand their trade through the provision of collateral free loans of N10,000 to traders, the scheme sees Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visiting markets across the country, hanging over the credit facility to traders.
But Saraki who defected from the APC to PDP about four months ago, wondered why the Federal Government is disbursing the loan less than three months to the 2019 election.
He said: “In 2015, I didn’t see the Vice President going anywhere to give anybody Trader Moni. In 2016, I didn’t see see the Vice President going anywhere to give anybody Trader Moni. In 2017, I didn’t see the Vice President going anywhere to give anybody Trader Moni. But all of a sudden in 2018.
“And the worst part about it is that he goes with the Woman Leader of his party (APC), governor of his party. At least if you are going and it’s Nigerian money, you should have Woman Leader of all the parties because the money belongs to Nigeria. But all I see is APC Women Leaders. It is wrong, it is morally wrong. It equates in a way to sophisticated vote buying. Because if it is not vote buying, you should have been doing it since 2015. In 2016, you didn’t go. In 2017, you didn’t go. Then all of a sudden in 2018, that is the biggest programme.
“And when you go, you carry APC governors beside you, Woman Leader of APC beside you, collecting PVCs. Nigerians are not going to be fooled by that. Anything that is not based on sincerity. If he had been doing it since 2015, 2016, 2017, then you can say that. But to us, it is sophisticated vote buying. And next time he goes out, he should carry people that represent the community, not just one party or political association. It’s either they stop it completely or they expand the space to ensure that it represents all Nigerians. Because the money when it was appropriated, we did not put beside it APC appropriated money. We said it is money appropriated for all Nigerians. When they go for such events, it should have all Nigerians present. And I am sure they if they are going, they can invite neighbouring states or even the political leaders of other parties in that state to participate in the event, not just the ruling party”.
The microcredit scheme is part of the Social Intervention Programme of the Buhari-led administration, approved by the National Assembly.
Two weeks ago, the Senate mandated an ad-hoc committee to investigate alleged diversion of the Special Intervention Programme of the present administration to fund Buhari’s reelection bid.
The seven-man ad-hoc committee, chaired by Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto State), has already commenced sitting.
This followed a motion by the Senate Minority Leader, Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti State).
According to her, the funds are being used for votes buying for the President.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja
Tags: Trader Moni