Following former President Olusegun Obsanjo’s attack, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has explained his role in the Federal Government’s TraderMoni microcredit scheme.
Obasanjo had in his recent attack on President Muhammadu Buhari and his government argued that in more civilised nations that Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted going round markets in Abuja and Lagos distributing money allegedly illegally to traders.
He had said, “The other day, the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a learned man, an enlightened person in all parameters – was seen at various markets in Lagos State and Abuja distributing N10,000 each to market women. What an absurdity! It was indeed an obscene display of executive recklessness and abuse of office. Pray, where did the money come from? Was it budgeted for in the appropriation law? In more civilised nations, Osinbajo would have been impeached and prosecuted for gutting our collective treasury.”
But responding in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Vice President argued that the statement by Obasanjo on TraderMoni is most unfortunate.
Osinbajo said that it is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of TraderMoni and his role in its implementation “or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission.”
The statement partly read, “Firstly, the Vice President does not personally distribute money during his visits to the markets. He goes there to assess the progress of the implementation and to create awareness for a programme designed to meet the financing need of two million petty traders across the country in the first instance.
“Secondly, while one will not bother to further address the issue of timing of the implementation since such issues are now known to be political posturing, it is important to note that TraderMoni is being actively implemented across all states of the federation and the FCT. It is not only Lagos and Abuja as was insinuated.
“These petty traders at the bottom of the economic ladder, with an inventory often less than N5, 000, are beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme which provides N10, 000 collateral/interest-free loans to them, empowerment that improves their small businesses, their families, while also contributing significantly to the economy.
“Thirdly, in what is certainly a curious comment, the former President has also been quoted as describing the TraderMoni scheme as idiotic. To label such people-friendly scheme as idiotic is not only an absurdity, it is also an affront to the sensibilities of these hard working Nigerians, the beneficiaries of the micro-credit scheme.
“Finally, attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the masses of our people is a direct attack on the people and this kind of conduct does not reflect very well on a former president but is only self-denigrating and of no public value. As is already now obvious, the generality of the Nigerian people will not only reject that attack but will also condemn its source. We, therefore, urge the former president to be far more circumspect and more public-spirited in his utterances going forward.”
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