By Felix Oboagwina
Nigerians have condemned as shameful, vote-buying and an abuse of the country’s resources the Federal Government disbursement of a Micro-Enterprise Enhancement Scheme (MEES) funds to women and youths in Edo State from 15th to 16th September.
They allege that the disbursement, taking place a couple of days to the Edo State governorship polls, was perfidious and not different from illegally sharing of money to voters at the point of voting.
The Lagos State Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Engineer Deji Doherty, said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the polling umpire must bring perpetrators to book.
He also said that the national executive of PDP would be advised to approach the courts to press charges against those administering the programme.
“We will do a post-mortem of that election and the elders and stakeholders of this country must be called to dissect this matter before Edo State is thrown into flames,” Doherty said.
The Lagos State Chairman of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Mr. Adeoye Jolaosho, said the disbursement, coming a few days to the poll amounted to disguised vote-buying.
Jolaosho also canvassed that the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Barrister Festus Keyamo (SAN), as well as the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment, Dr. NasirLadan Mohammed Argungu, who were in charge of the plan, should be added to the travel ban imposed on some prominent by the United States.
Wondering in what capacity the wife of a candidate in the election would be involved in such a programme, he urged Nigerians and the international community to condemn the scheme.
“What APC and the Federal Government are doing in Edo amounts to pure votebuying and it must be condemned by all and sundry.
These are the antics of a sinking party that knows it is losing the election and clutching at straws to shore up its dying hope,” Jolaosho said.
According to Jolaosho, the Edo experience justified the initial scepticism the National Assembly expressed over the 770,000 employment scheme President Muhammadu Buhari mandated Keyamo to handle.
The Lagos State Coordinator of the Friends of Atiku Adamawa (FOWA), Mr. Solomon Oba Olufelo, described the scheme coming a few days to the Edo governorship election as shameful, absurd and undemocratic.
Olufelo said: “Having listened to Bola Tinubu referring to himself as the leader of all Nigerian democrats, you will wonder where this kind of conduct by his party will feature in any lexicon of democracy, this open sharing of money to citizens a few days to a major election.