The proposed plan of Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari to commence payment of N5, 000 Social welfare to about 25 million Nigerians is a plan one must critically and objectively look into before jumping into praises of government.
It was widely reported in most Nigerian dailies on Tuesday 8th of December that President Buhari has proposed N6.2 Trillions in 2016 budget, about N500 Billions of this budget is allocated for social welfare scheme. The question we must ask is that is the idea of paying N5, 000 to each of the 25,000 million Nigerians a way forward for us as a country at this perilous time?
If you visit any news stand in any part of Nigeria, the kind of discussions you’ll hear about this current government will amuse you, you will begin to wonder if we are indeed in a change era of shortchanged time, you will hear the opinion of people about this initiative of social welfare, many Nigerian tend to disagree with President Buhari on many of his policies and his style of governance.
Many people do not want how the nation was mismanaged by the past administrations since the inception of democracy but wants a “CHANGE” in terms of clear economy revamping policy direction not tokenism as proposed by Buhari government.
My own opinion is that instead of government of tokenism, it should be government of massive wealth creation. Government can create more millionaires with the N500 Billion voted for tokenism in the budget.
One will wonder the yardstick Buhari government intend to use in determining those who are vulnerable in Nigeria, does government already have the records of these people, what method do government plan to use in capturing their details, and how would government identify genuine people who really need the money, is the programme sustainable, how far can it go and is there any exit plans? There are lots of questions one should begin to ask about how government intent to implement the tokenism system called social welfare scheme and to what effect.
Nigeria actually needs wealth creation system and not tokenism, what government plans to do is not so different from the Almajiri system in the Northern Nigeria where people are used to monies from other people without wanting to work or incapacitated to work.
Nigeria is not a soviet or communist state where citizen must depend on Government for money to survive, the business of government is provision of basic infrastructures and economic policies that will encourage businesses to thrive, even in US and other countries where they practice welfare system; it’s really not yielding any meaningful results for them.
A country must have been developed to a certain level before a thing such as social welfare is introduced. Government by so doing will be encouraging laziness, social unrest, and emotional distrust among families.
Amidst the dwindling oil price without any concrete diversification of and lean economy strength, the little money left should be channeled into programme that can assist the country recover from its financial crises, placing token in the hands of percentage of people every month will turn Nigeria to a Lazy beggar nation and this will greatly damage the country.
President Buhari can use the N500 Billion to power an initiative like YOUWIN embarked upon by the Ex-President Jonathan administration and properly monitor it.
A programme like the YOUWIN will target poor youths from every parts of Nigeria, when these people are given opportunities and training with grants from the programme, wealth will be created, productions will kick off, export will kick off (GDP), more people will be employed because government cannot employ everyone.
Let us be practical here, if Buhari administration pick up a son or a daughter of a poor man, train them in any area of their talent or acquired skills, give them grants to support their talent, such person will begin to make more money as times goes on and will be able to feed, clothe and shelter his or her parents, they will be able to cater for their parents better than the N5, 000 token government intends to hand over to them or their parents.
Government should not be too ashamed to look at implementing a better programme or modify their campaign promises for effectiveness. If they should go ahead to implement the N5,000 tokenism called Social Welfare scheme, it will amount to waste and damage to the reputation of Nigeria as a beggar, the implication is that government will waste about N2 Trillions in four years and people will still remain poor and beggars. When people wait for crumbs from government it means they have practically become beggars.
Nigerian government both at States and Federal should not waste hard earn tax payers money to embark on a project or programme that will not yield any meaningful result in the end, even if the plot of government is to “Bribe” people with the money for past or future electoral gains, people will still lament and complain as time goes on that what can the money “N5,000” do in their lives. Government should teach people how to fish and not fish for people to eat.
Nigeria is blessed with massive human and natural resources, we should use them to create wealth and enrich our people. The youths need jobs, civil unrest, security threats, threat of disintegration and Boko Haram Killings should be urgently looked into. Nigerians should be taken out of darkness with provision of electricity, our roads are death traps and should be fixed, we need better foreign reputation, relationship and policies with great economy directions.
Adelaja Adeoye is a blogger and social/political commentator who writes from Lagos Nigeria.