Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar lacks pro-poor reasoning and thus cannot appreciate efforts at alleviating poverty through programmes that empower small-scale traders, like the Trader Moni Scheme, says the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO).
In a statement signed by Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Madueke, its Chairman and Secretary respectively, the group responded to Atiku Abubakar’s claim in his petition at the Presidential Election Tribunal, that the Trader Moni Programme amounted to vote-buying and lacked budgetary backing.
According to the group, the former Vice President, and one of the losers of the 2019 Presidential elections, is scornful of poor people, which is why he is inattentive to the fact that the programme was aimed at providing collateral and interest-free loans to small scale traders.
“Atiku’s contempt for the poor renders him unable to understand and appreciate the Buhari government’s policies and programmes aimed at making their lives better. It is not surprising, as Mr Abubakar spent the better time of his tenure as Vice-President making the lives of Nigerians miserable. As Vice President, he established his private University which no average Nigerian can afford, and at a time lecturers at public universities were on strike.
“Perhaps this despise has only worsened with the fact that the Nigerian masses overwhelmingly voted against him and his anti-poor policies in the recently concluded elections, while voting for President Muhammadu Buhari, a man who stands with and for them.”
The group highlighted that: “The Trader Moni Programmes are soft loans to small scale traders. They are expected to pay back. The 10,000 Naira is meant to provide extra capital for these small scale traders to expand on their small businesses, buy more goods to sell, and then pay back within six months. After repaying this N10,000, they are now entitled to N15,000, which when they repay, makes them eligible to N20,000, then N30,000, up to N100,000.
“Government had over time concentrated its efforts and policies on the welfare of the elites, the minority – who are already well to do – while neglecting the majority, poor Nigerians, by not creating policies that empower them directly and indirectly.”
BMO further noted that: “the President Buhari administration believes that the welfare of the poor is as important as that of the elites and thus they must be catered for as well.”
The group noted that with these facilities, low-income traders are able to access more funds to boost their capital and gradually expand their businesses, adding
that the Trader Moni Programme had received legislative blessing in the budget as it was under the Social Investment Programmes which had its budget presented and defended under that of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“Trader Moni is a part and parcel of the President Buhari’s administration’s Social Investment Programmes which has followed proper budgetary procedure in its implementation. In fact, the Programmes were approved by the Saraki and Dogara-led National Assembly, which hailed it as the largest form of social investment in the continent. It is thus a figment of Atiku’s imagination that the programme has no legal backing.
“But we are not surprised, Atiku is a master of badly scripted tales that have no place in reality.”
“A man who had told Nigerians that he wanted to sell NNPC – Nigeria’s major revenue source – to his friends -would find it hard to understand Trader Moni. His mind is engineered towards cronyism and satisfying his elite friends alone.”
The group went further to recall that the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was, a few days ago, in Anambra and Ebonyi States to monitor and assess progress of the Trader Moni Scheme in the two states.
“Is there any election coming soon, that the Vice President is going to purchase votes for? None! Atiku’s suggestion that the programmes are vote-buying schemes are not just baseless and unreasonable, they are cheap lies,” the group added.