- Atiku and his party, PDP, claimed in their petition to presidential election tribunal that Trader Moni is illegal
- The PDP presidential candidate and his party alleged that President Buhari and APC used the scheme to influence voters to vote for them
- Responding, President Buhari, through his lawyer, denied the petitioners’ claim, insisting that TraderMoni was never a vote-buying measure but a social intervention scheme
Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and his party, have insisted that the TraderMoni scheme initiated by President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government is a vote-buying scheme that lacked budgetary backing.
According to Sahara Reporters, Atiku and his party described the initiative as “illegal and corrupt extra-budgetary spending".
Legit.ng gathers that they stated this in their petition filed before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the February 23 election.
Atiku and his party want the tribunal to declare them as the true winner of the February 23 presidential election, having alleged manipulations and corruption in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)'s declaration of Buhari and his party, APC, as the winner of the election.
They alleged, among others, in the petition that in a bid to “improperly influence voters,” Buhari, “using his position as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, commenced a programme or a scheme called Trader Moni, through which the Nigerian electorate, most especially traders across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, Abuja, were, a few weeks to the presidential election, given N10,000 each.”
“In spite of the fact that there was no budgetary provision for this scheme; and in spite of public outcry against it, the 2nd respondent (Buhari), through the Vice-President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, went round all the states of Nigeria and the FCT, Abuja, and shared the said sum of N10,000 to traders, thus using state resources to buy votes,” they added.
Responding, President Buhari, through his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), denied the petitioners’ claim, insisting that Trader Moni was never a vote-buying measure.
He said the policy was one of the many social intervention policies of the government provided for in the national budget to alleviate the suffering of the masses.
However, in their reply to Buhari’s response to the petition, Atiku and the PDP faulted the claim.
They contended that there was no such provision in the Appropriation Act permitting distribution of “scarce public funds” before and during the February 23 presidential election.
The petitioners, through their team of lawyers led by Dr. Livy Uzouwku (SAN), noted that the National Assembly "vehemently protested” against the spending under the Trader Moni policy for not being appropriated for in the Appropriation Act.
They stated: “Contrary to paragraphs 331, 332, 333, 334, 335 336, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341 and 342 of the 2nd respondent’s (Buhari) reply, the petitioners denied that there was a budgetary provision in any Appropriation Act permitting the distribution of scarce public funds before and during the election of February 23, 2019, to so-called traders under the guise of Trader Moni.
“The petitioners further state that the National Assembly vehemently protested against the spending of un-appropriated funds.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Chris Uche (SAN) who is the lead counsel for the Atik and PDP at the presidential election tribunal, and Bauchi state governor-elect, Bala Mohammed at the governorship petition tribunal sitting in Bauchi state expressed optimism of his clients’ victory in court.
The senior lawyer said all the respondents in Atiku’s cases have all filed their responses. Uche added that all processes have been exchanged and very soon, there will be commencement of the pre-hearing session with the actual trial coming after that.
He, however, queried the APC for not addressing some of the issues raised in the petition filed by Atiku.
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2019 Election: Atiku heads to court to contest election result, can he win? | Legit TV