By Ferdinand Ekechukwu

Just days after the inauguration of Trader Moni venture, a federal government empowerment scheme in Osun State, a former Minister of Education and co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has condemned the scheme by accusing the government of deliberately corrupting the elections in Osun with the launch of the programme three weeks before its scheduled governorship elections in the state.

Ezekwesili berated the timing of the launch in Osun. Reacting to the launch of the programme, Ezekwesili via her Twitter handle stated that “The federal government either failed to be ethically circumspect or in fact deliberately decided to corrupt the elections in Osun by handing out cash to traders just before the state elections. Such behaviour after the grand corrupting of voters in Ekiti is reprehensible.”

The Trader Moni, a Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) scheme, according to information from the programme’s Twitter handle, is “to help alleviate poverty in Nigeria by empowering traders and artisans.” An online portal had reported that for traders to access the N10, 000 loans, they had to provide evidence of having registered for the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

The federal government budgeted N300, 000,000 to “empower” traders in Osun, and the loan is expected to be repaid within six months, after which the traders can access higher amounts. In a widely publicised event, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, on September 3, 2018, had launched the programme, which targeted 30,000 traders in Osun. The
federal government had also launched the scheme in Abuja Thursday.