Members of the All Progressives Congress Caucus in the House of Representatives have dismissed the allegation that the TraderMoni empowerment programme by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is aimed at buying votes ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who is spearheading the programme, had been to major markets across the country to grant the interest-free loan of N10,000 to petty traders.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Majority Leader of the House and leader of the caucus, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, condemned members of the National Assembly who accuse Osinbajo of vote buying.
Gbajabiamila said, “I think it is important for us as a caucus to defend the party when the party is being attacked unfairly and unjustly. I have heard legislators from both sides – the Senate and the House – talking about TraderMoni being vote buying.
“I shudder to think that any legislator would say that, when the same Legislature gave approval and budgeted for TraderMoni. We budgeted for something and then you turn around. Then you have done a disservice to the country. You are indicting yourself.”
According to the lawmaker, TraderMoni is in different forms around the world.
He said the government could not have suspended the programme because elections were approaching.
“Do we as a country say three or four months to the elections, we are going to stop giving the vulnerable and poor people or taking care of them, so that we are not seen as vote buyers? We need to know that this is all politics and it is unfortunate,” Gbajabiamila stated.