The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum on Wednesday accused the Buhari administration through the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, of engaging in “advance(d) vote buying” ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The group, which met in Abuja to deliberate on the state of the nation, noted that the Tradermoni scheme of the government was an avenue to corrupt the electorate ahead of the general elections next year.
In a communiqué jointly signed by leaders of the zones, namely, Yinka Odumakin, South West; Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, South South, Isuwa Dogo, Middle Belt and Chigozie Ogbu, South East, the group demanded the stoppage of the scheme as it shames the anticorruption campaign of the present administration.
“The meeting expressed utter disappointment in the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo for his continued corruption of the electorates in a funny scheme named ‘Tradermoni’,” read the communiqué.
“We noted his odious outing with this corrupt act shortly before the Osun governorship election when he went to dole out cash to would -be voters and distributing forms in which beneficiaries were asked to fill in their PVC details and phone number.
“A few days back, he took the perverse scheme to Lagos accompanied by the Governor of Lagos and the APC governorship candidate in Lagos state, an act that totally betrayed the political manipulation of the polity with pecuniary tools.
“It is rather unfortunate that a Professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria is not ashamed to be doing this open ‘see and buy’ ahead of elections while he continues to preach virtues when convenient.
“We demand immediate suspension of this scheme in the manner the VP is going about it presently as it shames the whole anti-corruption campaign of the administration. It is pure bribery of voters.”
The Buhari administration launched a new initiative under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), called the Trader Moni, which it said, will empower two million petty traders before the end of the year.
The scheme would grant a minimum of 30,000 loans in each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
TraderMoni is designed to help petty traders expand their trade through the provision of collateral free loans of N10,000. The loans are repayable within a period of six months.
Under the scheme, beneficiaries can get access to a higher facility ranging from N15,000 to N50,000 when they repay N10,000 within the stipulated time period.
The current criticism of the Vice President is coming on the heels of the rowdy session the Senate had on the same issue days back when, Senator Olujimi had called the attention of the lawmakers with samples of the scheme form presented to house after which a committee was set-up to look into the activities of the Trademoni scheme as well as the previous government SURE-P projects.