Vote Buying: Delta Apc Slam Okowa Over ‘smart Money’ Programme

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

Just as stakeholders sensitize the electorates against vote buying by desperate politicians and political parties ahead of the forthcoming elections, the Delta state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has lambasted the Ifeanyi Okowa-led Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) administration for initiating the ‘Smart Money’ programme for petty traders.

The party frown at the Okowa’s administration after the PDP initially condemned the Social Investment Programme, ‘Tradermoni’ of the APC Federal Government which they had been termed as Vote Buying.

Slamming the recent announcement of the distribution of N10, 000 to about 26, 400 market women by the PDP government, APC demanded an apology from Delta PDP and the State Government over its earlier criticism of the intervention scheme of the Federal Government which they have eventually adopted.

The party which conveyed its position in a press statement further urged the Delta State Government to acknowledge the efforts made by the Senator representing Delta Central, Ovie Omo-Agege, in empowering market women across the senatorial district and likewise, apologize to him for politicizing his good will.

The Statement titled, “Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa And PDP Should Apologize To APC Federal Led Government And Senator Ovie Omo-Agege”, signed by the State Publicity Secretary of the Jones Erue led State Working Committee, Barr. Sylvester Imonina and made available to journalists in Asaba, reads thus; “More than a year ago, the APC led Government introduced social investment programmes to wit, trader-moni and N-power to assist the less privileged in our society and give opportunity to Nigerians to be employed and eke out a living.

“The programmes were/are meant to bridge the wide gap between the super-rich, the rich and the less privileged, and also act as springboard to young entrepreneurs who do not have access to loans from financial institutions, that are usually back by collateral.

“Today, the hope of many Nigerians whose hope were dimmed by PDP years of economic wastages are now rekindled by these programmes. Nigerians, especially the less privileged are happy with these programmes and APC led Federal Government is more endeared to the masses.

“In Delta State, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege who understands the feeling of his people embarks on giving out N10, 000 each to market women in Delta Central Senatorial District irrespective of political leaning. Also, Sen. Omo-Agege extended this programme to members of different denominations within the Christendom. The beneficiaries are the identifiable less privileged in those churches. Many Men of God are appreciative of Sen. Omo-Agege and APC led Federal government programmes because the burden the less privileged in their midst posed on them is now reduced.

“Despite the laudability of the APC Federal led government and Sen. Omo-Agege programmes, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa and/ or the government of Delta State, vehemently spoke against the programmes, saying that same is vote-buying, and a way of de-marketing PDP. This, to APC, is an economic assault and onslaught by the PDP and the Government of Delta State against the less privileged in our society.

“Surprising, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Governor of Delta State, some days ago, said that he was going to empower about ten thousand persons (probably his PDP members) with N10, 000 as part of his empowerment programmes. The question that comes to mind is, is this not vote-buying by Sen. Okowa? Where is that money coming from, because there is no budgetary provision for same by the House of Assembly!

“APC demands an apology from PDP and Sen. Okowa. Deltans should know that this is a Greek gift from Sen. Okowa. Deltans should reject Okowa government.”

It would recalled that, the Delta State Government through the Economy Planning Office, had announced that it will commence the distribution of N10, 000 to 26, 400 petty traders across the state.

Making the disclosure, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Dr Emu Kingsley, on Thursday, January 3, in Asaba, said that the scheme was meant for only petty traders in the State.

He said, “We have concluded plans to empower more than 26,400 traders, especially women, with the sum of N10, 000 within the next few weeks.

“The N10, 000, which we tag ‘Smart Money’, will be given specifically to petty traders and hawkers across the various Local Government Areas of the state.

“As I speak with you, well over 26,400 people will benefit from the state government’s Smart Money. This will happen within the next two weeks.’’