Nigeria news has to be taken as a pinch of salt until it actual materialised. Often, what get spread for public consumption is not the entire picture, and other times government officials change their minds without acknowledging errors in prior information for the fear of being criticised.
The other day, I read that Prof Osinbajo had clarified the scheme of free ₦5k for the unemployed graduate – now we learn that the scheme is meant to provide vocational training for unemployed youths, graduates or otherwise. This to me sounds a lot better than cash in hand.
And again, I am treating this lightly until I see/hear ordinary folks down in small towns benefitting.
I suppose it is safe to treat this infographics as authentic given Prof Osinbajo signed it.
I am hoping that one day there will be a follow up document that explains the highlighted areas in the infographic as it will help greatly.
Looking at point 3 – The monthly unconditional cash transfer of ₦5k for the extremely poor Nigerians. Who are these extremely poor Nigerians and how are their condition assessed? Here I am only curious and no ulterior motive whatsoever. However, in the last few years whenever the talk about poor Nigerians came up, the eye is in the northern part of the country. So we have lots of essential poverty alleviation programs from Unicef providing cash in hand for girls to stay in school and last regime providing Aljamari schools for begging street children.
Additionally, we have questionable programs with government paying millions of naira so adult men could marry their third or fourth wife, and adult women re marry their third or fourth husband as the previous ones conveniently drove them out, while the children roam the streets. That, and the pilgrimage for many people who would never have spent their hard-earned cash on such a trip.
Yet, genuinely, poverty is rife – no kidding. But, where do we draw the line so leaders are held accountable?
Here is another angle, the one we ignore to talk about. Today in the south, we have people who are almost if not on the same level in ‘poverty class’ as some folks in the north, but this may not be that obvious as they are tucked away in our villages and small towns.
As a teenager, I used to live in a house in the late ’80s in the ‘rich’ south with a family who hailed from Gbongan – I have never seen anyone this poor in my life, so poor Baba Rọ́pò had to wash his clothes with a fist sized stone to scrub the stains off. Their food is horrible. One day my sisters and I returned from school holiday to learn that Baba Rọ́pò had died. He died after vomiting bucket filled with green stuff, and of course no hospital visit whatsoever because you need money for that.
More recently, three years ago, my sister helped with collating some information in town as a group were looking into providing solar lanterns to selected students. She helped so the most vulnerable ones get this.
There are some areas in town where the local crisis hits really badly 18 years ago, many people, especially elderly still live in half burnt houses because there is no where else to go and their farms had been seized. She was especially emotional with an elderly man who was blind in one eye and had nowhere to turn to.
I know my focus is in the town that I am familiar with, it is the same case for folks in Ile-Ife and not too surprising that travelling throughout our SW even areas with no local crisis, we still have lots of people like this.
Example of this is the picture of Prof Osinbajo took during campaign in Ogun state. It is not enough to take photos of the villagers just to get votes, it is important to incorporate these people into the plan as well.
To see how terrible this is in the south for some folks, one needs to visit our villages especially the schools, roads – they don’t bite, anyone can do this and I am hoping Prof would trace his steps back to the campaign routes.
My point here is that, this time let’s make it all inclusive social welfare, and this means the 1M people the scheme intends to help reach the poorest of all our regions.