The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has said ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar lacks the requisite pro-poor reasoning and thus cannot appreciate efforts at alleviating poverty through programmes that empower small-scale traders, like the Trader Moni Scheme.
The group was reacting to Atiku’s claim in his petition at the Presidential Election Tribunal that the TraderMoni programme amounted to vote-buying and lacked budgetary backing.
In a statement obtained by Naija News, the group explained that TraderMoni programmes are soft loans to small scale traders, who are expected to pay back
The statement reads in part: “Atiku’s contempt for the poor renders him incapable of understanding and appreciating the Buhari government’s policies and programmes aimed at making their lives better. It is not surprising, as Mr Abubakar spent the better part 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 in 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 election while voting for President Muhammadu Buhari, a man who stands with and for them.”
“The TraderMoni programmes are soft loans to small scale traders, who are expected to pay back. The N10,000 is meant to provide extra capital for these small scale traders to expand their small businesses, buy more goods to sell, and then pay back within six months. After repaying this N10,000, they are entitled to N15,000, which when repaid, makes them eligible for N20,000, then N30,000, up to N100,000.
“Government, over time, had concentrated efforts and policies on the welfare of the elite – the minority, who are already well to do – while neglecting the majority, poor Nigerians, by not creating policies that empower them directly and indirectly.
“The Buhari administration believes that the welfare of the poor is as important as that of the elite and thus they must be catered for as well.”
The pro-Buhari group disclosed that the TraderMoni received legislative blessing in the budget as it was under the Social Investment Programmes, with their budget presented and defended under the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
“TraderMoni is a part and parcel of President Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programmes which have followed proper budgetary procedure in its implementation. In fact, the programmes were approved by the Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara-led National Assembly, which hailed it as the largest form of social investment on the African 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 the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the nation’s major revenue source – to his friends – would find it hard to understand TraderMoni. His mind is engineered towards cronyism and satisfying his elite friends alone.”
BMO recalled that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo was, a few days ago, in Anambra and Ebonyi states to monitor and assess progress of the TraderMoni scheme in both 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 is not just baseless and unreasonable; it is cheap a lie,” the group added.