By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Market women at two major markets; Mandate Ultral modern market, Adewole and Ipata market in Ilorin, Kwara state have rejected the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme, Tradermoni.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected in Ilorin on Friday to launch the programme.
But, the market women, it was gathered have turned down the federal government’s offer.
The leadership of the market association in the state was said to have turned down the federal government’s offer on the ground that ” the disbursement of such funds at this period has political undertones “.
The market women according to sources close to their leaders told those in charge of the funds disbursement to differ the disbursement till after next year’s general elections if their intention is genuine.
The chairperson of Market Women Association in the state, Alhaja Adenike AbdulKareem Lambe, confirmed the rejection of the tradermoni by members of the association.
She said that ” we doubt the intention of the federal government on the disbursement of such funds at this period of electioneering campaigns towards the 2019 general elections.
” If they truly want to assist the market women, they should come back after next year’s general elections to disburse the funds to our members.
” We can’t be deceived by the APC government that has not done anything for us in the past three years. Where were the APC led federal government when fire razed our market and consumed goods worth millions of naira?
She said that it was only the senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki that provided succour for the victims of the fire incident.
Hajia Lambe also recalled that Saraki recently donated N5 million towards the construction of their union’s secretariat.
She expressed the market women’s continued support for the senate president, saying that ” Saraki has always stand by us and support us whenever the need arises.
She said no amount of overture from the APC led federal government ” will make us sway our support for Saraki.”
Consequently, those saddled with the disbursement of the funds have resorted to sourcing prospective beneficiaries of the funds from the streets, as the market women remained adamant on their decision not to have anything to do with with tradermoni.
Also,the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP has described the programme as a vote-buying gimmick by the APC led government ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The party in a statement by its state publicity secretary, Tunde Ashaolu noted
that “the scheme was launched in 2015 and in the past three years, the Vice-President did not visit any state for TraderMoni, but few months to the general election, he has been going round markets in different states of the country to distribute money to traders and artisans. We want to believe this is not a ploy by the APC to induce them ahead of the elections.
“Nevertheless, the Kwara PDP warns against the partisanship of the initiative and advises that there should be no discrimination in the selection of beneficiaries in the State.
“The Vice-President and his team must ensure that beneficiaries are selected without recourse to political affiliations. As this is a government scheme and not a party affair, beneficiaries must cut across political divides.
“We demand that criteria for selection be made transparent and strictly adhered to, and all beneficiary traders and artisans must follow the normal procedure irrespective of where they belong.
“Tradermoni is a programme for all Nigerians and not just for the APC alone. We, therefore, call on the Vice-president to include representatives of other political parties in the flag-off ceremony of the scheme in Kwara.”