Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President, has described the Trader Moni Scheme of President Muhammadu Buhari as idiotic.
Mr Obasanjo gave the description on Sunday in an open letter titled “Point for Concern and Action.”
Trader Moni, according to the Federal Government, is an empowerment scheme created specifically for petty traders and artisans across the country.
The scheme promoted by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has been condemned by critics of the administration largely because of the timing of its implementation and disbursement, which is close to the 2019 general election.
Critics, including chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the programme as vote buying.
While Bukola Saraki, Senate President, described it as sophisticated, Yakubu Dogara, Reps Speaker, elucidated it to be direct vote buying.
For the former president, the scheme is “idiotic.”
“What an act by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria lawyer, number 2 man in the Executive hierarchy; and what is more, a pastor of one of the Christian movements led by a revered, respected and upright church leader, Pastor E. A. Adeboye,” Obasanjo said.
“Traders in rural and sub-urban areas of Nigeria are many more than those in urban areas and they are much poorer than traders in Lagos, Abuja and other cities. They need more attention and greater help.
“Are they to be confined to the heap of perpetual poverty? What of those who are not traders? They are not entitled to hand-out and they can languish in penury? And what about millions who have lost their jobs in the last three and a half years? The timing is also suspect.
“Those who criticise the action are called evil but they are not evil as they know what they are doing and saying, and they love Nigeria and Nigerians not less than the likes of Osinbajo. They are not devils incarnate; they are patriots.
“What is the connection between taking the number of PVC (Permanent Voters Card) of the recipient of the N10,000 doled out to ‘traders’ and the forthcoming election? There is something sinister about it, and Professor Osinbajo, of all people, should know that.
“With collusion of the INEC officials and card readers not made to work, anybody quoting the PVC number may be allowed to vote as the revised Electoral Bill was not signed. And if that happens all over the country, it will be massive rigging indeed.
“His explanation that it was their government programme can only be construed to be very shallow and lopsided, if not an outrightly idiotic programme.”
Obasanjo, who described himself as an alarm raiser, passed a vote of no confidence on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) urging the electoral body to diligently carry out its duties.
He also alleged that Mr Buhari is planning and strategizing on how to rig the election using the case of embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, as a reference point.
“The Chairman of INEC must stand firm and carry out his duties with competence and unbending neutrality. Card readers must be used without fail and accreditation must be completed and number ascertained and made public before voting commences as was done in 2015,” the former president said.