The Federal Government of Nigeria has, in the past and present, initiated several poverty alleviation programs that have had little or no impact on the lives of Nigerian Citizens.
While this may sound like an outright attempt to tarnish the image and efforts of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, it also cuts across previous political dispensations, as citizens of this nation cannot fully show what they’ve benefited from politicians.
And this topic of discussion doesn’t just centre solely on poverty alleviation. It cuts across areas such as infrastructure development, functional healthcare systems, steady power generation and supply, clean and drinkable water, and to cap it all, availability of the needed basic amenities.
On August 2, 2021, the Federal Government expressed readiness to create more opportunities for Nigerians and close the unemployment gap, mainly affecting the youth.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who restated some of these promises, stressed that the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy, a committee he oversees, aims to eradicate poverty by effectively creating more jobs in Nigeria.
Osinbajo mentioned this point at the formal presentation of the Research Report of Course 29 of the National Defence College while addressing “Creating Jobs & Opportunities for Africa’s Largest Youth Population” in the Villa.
According to the Vice President, the Buhari Administration has prioritized employment generation by integrating job creation in all its significant policies, projects, and programs.
He pointed out that the critical objective given to Ministers in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, is to initiate policies that create room for job opportunities, adding that President Buhari clearly stated this in a 2019 presentation.
“So, the critical question that we ask regarding any government policy is how many jobs will this bring about, how many jobs it will create. And aside from that, there have also been several engagements with different policy bodies and ideas concerning job creation. The whole idea of creating jobs and opportunities, especially in an economy this size, is that government’s involvement must be in creating the enabling environment.” Prof. Osinbajo.
Poverty Alleviation Programs not Impacting Citizens
Below are some of the poverty alleviation programs mentioned by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, among other initiatives, that Nigerians feel have had very minimal influence contributing to their daily growth.
- The National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy, as discussed earlier, aims to eradicate poverty by effectively creating more jobs in Nigeria. But how many jobs can the government confidently beat its chest and say it credibly offered to the youth and citizens in general since 2015. Even the World Bank, a few months ago, announced that over seven million people in Nigeria are living below the poverty line. On its part, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, through the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Olosgondiyan, also criticized the government for drastically failing to lift ten million Nigerians out of poverty as promised earlier during Buhari’s manifesto.
- There’s the Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP, which, according to the Federal Government, is a vital part of the plans for job creation; meanwhile, the major focus of Nigeria’s ESP, partly, is “sustaining existing jobs and then being able to create other jobs.” This is hard to agree with as only a select few get lucrative jobs while others settle for jobs not necessarilly sustainable, as workers in several States still hasn’t collected their salaries for several months now.
- The Food for Jobs programme, an agricultural programme, is a significant initiative that has led to the identification of 5 million farmers. These farmers are geo-tagged to their farmlands, which is the first time this has been done in its history. According to Osinbajo, the farmers must have Bank Verification Numbers, BVN, to give loans to them and farm inputs. BUT, as brilliant as this program may sound, coming from a very sound mind, the part which the government should’ve taken seriously is to, first and foremost, address the security challenges presently encountered by Nigerian Farmers, who are under pressure from armed bandits hindering their daily activities and discouraging them from ever farming.
- The Vice President also spoke about the Social Housing and Solar Connections being components of the ESP. As always, the majority of the population have not benefitted from this and other programs. In their defence, the government would always propose such initiatives to be scheduled for the long-term, and since governance is generally accepted as a continuum, the baton of cheers or jeers would be transferred to another administration if the project falls through or succeeds.
- The present administration, with all these excellent propositions, both their original ideas and those adopted from previous governments, must stop with the social gatherings in presenting these solutions to Nigerians in fancy hotels around Abuja and neighbouring environs.
- Government must ensure they pay regular visits to the grassroots’ areas where there are actual poverty-stricken persons and an obvious need for infrastructure transformations. And not to rob the Vice President of his well-deserved accolades for taking out time on different occasions to consult ordinary Nigerians and hear directly from the horse’s mouth issues that genuinely affect the masses.
- Other politicians are urged to do likewise, but not just stop at observations but attempt to carry out actual life-changing programs to build a Nigeria of our founding fathers.