Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) have expressed utter disappointment in the way and manner in which Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been going about promoting “Tradermoni,” an empowerment programme of the Federal Government, describing the approach as a pure bribery of voters and calling for immediate suspension of the scheme.
SMBLF, which met in Abuja on Wednesday, made this demand in its 3-point communique entitled: “Osinbajo Doing Advance Vote Buying,” and signed by Mr Yinka Odumakin on behalf of South-West, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South-East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South) and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle-Belt).
The leaders also took a swipe at the authorities concerning the high level insecurity in the country, and in particular what they termed as “the irresponsible response of the police to the recent terror visited on the home of the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, declaring that a government that cannot rise up to the challenge of securing the polity was not fit to be in office.
SMBLF while expressing great disappointment in the vice-president Osinbajo for what it described as “his continued corruption of the electorate in a funny scheme named ‘Tradermoni,’ noted that Osinbajo commenced “his odious outing with this corrupt act shortly before the Osun governorship election when he went to dole out cash to would-be voters and distributing forms in which beneficiaries were asked to fill in their PVC details and phone number.”
“A few days back, he took the perverse scheme to Lagos accompanied by the governor of Lagos and the APC governorship candidate in Lagos state, an act that totally betrayed the political manipulation of the polity with pecuniary tools,” SMBLF recalled.
The leaders said it was rather unfortunate that the vice-president, a professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was not ashamed to be doing what they termed this open “see and buy” ahead of elections while he continued to preach virtues when convenient.
They, therefore, demanded an immediate suspension of the scheme, saying that the manner in which Osinbajo had been going about it presently had rubbished the whole anti-corruption campaign of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“We demand immediate suspension of this scheme in the manner the VP is going about it presently as it shames the whole anti-corruption campaign of the administration. It is pure bribery of voters!” SMBFL declared.
The leaders condemned the response of the police to the recent alleged assassination attack on the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ekweremadu and his family in their Apo, Abuja Quarters, expressing shocked at the response made by the police spokesman that the incident was a burglary attack within a few hours of little or no investigation.
According to SMBLF, the latest response is akin to how the current Inspector-General, Ibrahim Idris, had dismissed the arsonist attack that claimed the lives of then Kano Resident Electoral Commission (REC) and his family in 2015 as mere accident shortly after visiting the scene of the crime.
“We were shocked to see police spokesman concluding the incident was a burglary attack within a few hours of little or no investigation in the order the current IGP dismissed the arsonist attack that claimed the lives of Kano REC and his family in 2015 as mere accident shortly after visiting the scene of the crime.
“With the invasion of the Senate by security operatives and the sealing of Ekweremadu’s home the day Senate President beat police cordon, the police are making inquiring minds to wonder if this was not a state terror.
“We strongly advise the police to stop behaving like a partisan outfit and embrace professionalism in handling matters like this. We demand a thorough investigation of the incident,” the Forum said.
Speaking further, the Forum expressed worries about the spate of violence going on in different parts of the country, including Kaduna, Plateau, Abuja, among others without adequate response from the government, declaring it was not shy to say that the government had failed in its primary responsibility of securing the lives and property of citizens.
According to it, a government that cannot rise up to the challenge of securing the polity is not fit to be in office.
“Meeting was disturbed by the spate of violence going on in different parts of the country without an adequate response from the state.
“We are worried by the killings in Kaduna, Plateau, Shiites in Abuja as well as kidnappings in Delta State and other parts of the country. We are not shy to say that the government has failed in its primary responsibility of securing the lives and property of citizens. A government that cannot rise up to the challenge of securing the polity is not fit to be in office.