By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described criticisms of his role in the distribution of the N10,000 trader moni by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as either expression of ignorance about the scheme or an act of mischief by the former president.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande in a statement late yesterday said: “It is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or he is on a mischievous mission.”
According to Akande, the former President has demonstrated “a surprising but complete misunderstanding of the workings of TraderMoni, that is if we assume there is no mischief intended.
“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 2 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.
“Again, the former president’s attack on TraderMoni and the person of the Vice President is an indicator that he may be wittingly or unwittingly playing to the sinister script of the opposition party to spread falsehood and attack the social investment programmes of the Buhari administration, which champions such impactful schemes, and which is now attracting the praise and commendation of Nigerians everywhere.
“Finally, attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the people is an attack on the people and does not reflect very well on a former president. 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.”