INEC Investigates Alleged Vote Buying By APC

By Stephen Ubanna

Ahead of the February 16, 2019, Presidential election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, appears to have bowed to pressure to probe  to probe the ”Trader Moni ”micro-credit scheme established by President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress, described as a ploy to by buy vodes during the election by the Opposition political parties.

Mahmood Yakubu,INEC Chairman

Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman of the Commission  noted  the probe became necessary because of concerns raised by some people about vote buying bysome politicians. Yakubu, the INEC , boss may have alluded to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who criticised the scheme , which is directly placed under Yemi Osinbajo , the Vice President as an ‘obscene of executive  recklessness and abuse of office”, querying whether  the money being shared in Nigerian major markets by the Osibajo, was ”appropriated for in the budget”. The Vice President  who may be hiding under the cover of the Scheme  was to going to various markets across the country to N10,000.00 each to traders.

The opposition political parties did not find it funny as they see it as vote buying by Buhari and his APC and threatened to boycott the election if INEC fail to look into their complaints. Worried that the politicians may truncate the election if INEC fail to investigate the allegations that the Trader Moni Scheme was a form of vote buying by APC. The electoral umpire may have moved to douse the tension created by the Scheme by setting up an investigation panel to” assess  whether  or not the  government  violated the Campaign finances laws”.

Yakubu , the INEC, Chairman, may have  gladdened the heart of politicians when he  said they have the mechanism for ”tracking  Campaign finance violations by Candidates and various political parties in the country.  Under the Trader Moni Scheme, which was said to have been initiated last August, the government was said to have set aside two million naira to empower petty traders  last year.

Many believe that the Trader Moni was designed to enlarge the electoral support base of the APC  in the 2019 general election  as against the make believe claim of the Presidency that the initiative  was meant to enlarge  the administration’s ”financial inclusion  agenda for all Nigerians regardless  of social class and economic status”.

Laolu Akande, Senior Special assistant to the Vice President had explained  that the Scheme would grant  a minimum of N10,000.00 loans to traders in each state of the federation and the FCT. The opposition political parties and Civil Society Organisations  have every reason to worry about the Scheme because it was launched  said to have been launched about six months to the flag off of the 2019  electioneering Campaigns for the 2019 e general election.

 Osinbajo and is team, described as foot soldiers of Buhari,  the APC, Presidential Candidate were said to have been moving from state to reach out to the traders, which political watchers described as a sophisticated way of politicking in a third world country.Iwas the turn of traders in Bayelsa state to get N10,000.00  last October.

Many traders from all nooks and crannies of the state were said  to have thronged the Tombia market, venue of the Trader Moni disbursement exercise in Yenogoa, the state capital to get the loan. Investigation by The Value News shows that Buhari and the APC, appears to have won the heart of the traders with the Trader Moni Scheme going by the expression of the people.”I feel elated to receive the money”, a Yenogoa based Photographer told Value News on phone.

The government may have given the impression that it is a loan as the fund is managed by the Bank of Industry,  but a trade who spoke to The Value News Blog on condition of annonymity  confirmed that”there is nothing like payback”,  stressing that ”it is a privilege to receive the grant”. I thank God and the government for the package, the trader had said.  The trader who described Buhari as a ”clever politician, said he has succeeded winning the heart of many traders with the Trader Moni Scheme. The trader fears that it would be difficult for Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP or any other party Presidential Candidate to beat the APC Candidate, who is seeking re-election in the election because of the support of traders across the nooks and crannies of the country.

The trader noted that when the government started the disbursement of the Funds last August in Lagos, people never raised alarm of election rigging or vote buying  by the ruling APC government, stressing that it is too late as Buhari has warmed himself into the heart of the traders who are the major voters between 199 and 2015. The trader believes that the voting pattern may not change in this 2019.

Nyesom Wike, the PDP governor of Rivers state may have known the impact of the Trader Moni on petty that he had cried out against election rigging in the state by the APC during the forthcoming election.  Wike has warned that ” anybody  who comes to rig in the state will face the consequences”. The governor may have sent a message to Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, acting Inspector General of police, IGP, that the oil rich Rivers state  have ”resolved  to defend  their votes  across  the 4442 polling booths, insisting that ”nobody  can subvert the will of the people  during the elections.

The Ikwerre born governor of Rivers state maintained that the ”choice of the people must prevail during the election”.  Political Observers said Wike, the Rivers state governor  have no reason to worry about Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of the state and minister of Transportation trying to rig in Tonye Cole , as the next governornor of the state on the platform of  APC  as his name was not on the list of gubernatorial Candidates that will contest the March2, 2019. election.  The A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt  had restrained  INEC in its Judgment  from recognising  Cole, Amaechi’s godson  or  Magnus Abe, a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as governorship  Candidates of the APC ,  in the general elections.Obo Effanga, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner had made it clear that the electoral umpire would always obey the  Court  rulings, an indication that Wike, the PDP Candidate has no serious rival to worry about in the state. ”He may as well go to s o sleep”, Chukwu Ukachukwu, a Port Harcourt based trader said.

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