Journalism of Courage

VP Osinbajo’s Vote- Buying Gets More Brazen Ahead of 2019 Elections, Says Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki has described as “sophisticated vote buying,” the Federal Government’s Microcredit Loan Scheme, otherwise known as ‘Trader Moni.’

“In 2015, I didn’t see the Vice President going anywhere to give anybody Trader Moni, Saraki said at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja Friday.

PRESIDENT BUHARI DINNER WITH SENATORS 00,000,0A,4&. President Muhammadu Buhari and President of the Senator Senator Bukola Saraki during Presidential Dinner in honor of Senators at the State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. NOV 25 2015.

” In 2016, I didn’t see the Vice President going anywhere to give anybody Trader Moni.  In 2017, I didn’t see the Vice President going anywhere to give anybody Trader Moni. But all of a sudden in 2018, we are seeing this.

“He goes about with the Woman Leader of his party, APC, and governors of his party. At least, if you are going, you should have Woman Leader of all the parties because the money belongs to Nigeria. But all I see is APC Women Leaders. It is wrong, it is morally wrong. It equates in a way to sophisticated vote buying. If it is not vote-buying he should have been doing it since 2015. In 2016, he didn’t do it. In 2017, he didn’t do it. Suddenly in 2018, that is the biggest programme. “And next time he goes out, he should carry people that represent the community, not just one party or political association. It’s either they stop it completely or they expand the space to ensure that it represents all Nigerians.

“Because the money when it was appropriated, we said it is money appropriated for all Nigerians.

VP Osinbajo in an interview on Wazobia FM last month said that by the end of the year, two million petty traders would have benefited from the scheme, as it has covered more than 1.3 million petty traders nationwide so far.

Money has become a dominant, determinant factor in Nigeria’s politics.

The poor are likely to be victimized by vote buying because their limited means makes them susceptible to material inducements, including offers of basic commodities or modest amounts of money from major political parties.

According to Nigeria Electoral Act, 2010, Article 130: “A person who— (a) corruptly by himself or by any other person at any time after the date of an election has been announced, directly or indirectly gives or provides or pays money to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to vote or refrain from voting at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election; or (b) being a voter, corruptly accepts or takes money or any other inducement during any of the period stated in paragraph (a) of this section, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.”

While vote buying is subject to punishment, the attainment of compliance to this legal provision remains a challenge, Per Second News gathered.

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