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Author Name: Suleiman Nasiru
Number of articles: 76
Last article added: Is N5,000 Stipend Politicised?

The promise of N5,000 to the most vulnerable Nigerians by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC... (0) Comment

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Is N5,000 Stipend Politicised?
Author: Suleiman Nasiru | November 09, 2015

The promise of N5,000 to the most vulnerable Nigerians by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during their electioneering campaign became a subject of politics on the floor of the Senate, as Senators on the platform of the ruling party APC opposed the immediate payment of the promised stipend when a People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senators move that the Federal Government should start the immediate payment of the stipend. Senator Philip Aduda (PDP, FCT) sponsored the motion, which was greeted with stiff opposition with shouts of “no, no” as he made efforts to explain it.

Also an attempt by the Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, to second the motion was disrupted by the rowdiness caused by the Senators of the APC. But the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, intervened and posed the question, which the senators responded along party lines. While Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members yelled ‘'aye'' in favour of the motion, All Progressives Congress (APC) senators, who were in majority, rejected it. In the view of some analysts, this move by the PDP senatora is a way of manipulating the campaign promises of the APC and using the avenue to play politics, when in the real sense the PDP are aware of the paucity of funds in the country, and thereby demanding that the payment to begin immediately is only a mischievous move of dangerous politicking.

An opposing view, the call by the PDP cannot be described as politics, but rather the call was genuine owing to the economic reality on ground. According to this school of thought, there is huge poverty in the country and the only way to cushion this effects is to fulfil this campaign promises as quick as possible. Analysts also argued that, it is not true that the country cannot pay these stipends to the unemployed youth irrespective of the claimed by the President that the country is broke.

This development has sparked off debate beyond the political circle, as many Nigerians have joined in the discourse. The APC has also been accused of trying to renege on their campaign promises made to Nigerians. An army of Nigerian youths, home and abroad have taking to the social media, tweeting #Our5k.

In apparent demand for the promised N5,000 by the APC during the campaign for the 2015 general election. A number of the youth accusing the APC attempting to run away from their campaign promises, the basis many of the youth claimed was why they voted for the party. Some of the youth said that they are worried that, this is not the first time the APC is coming out to deny some of its campaign promises.

According to this set of youth, the APC had earlier denied the One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” a document widely circulated during the electioneering campaign. It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari denied making such campaign promise describing it as an outrageous campaign promises. Buhari said he preferred to talk about milestones instead of achievements.

The denial was made in Abuja by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who said the President never promised anything to anyone. Shehu, who also served as the Director, Media and Publicity Department, All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign organisation further disowned “One Hundred Things Buhari Will Do in 100 Days” and “My Covenant with Nigerians” the two booklets circulated during campaign saying they were not products of the Media Department of APC.

 “The President never promised anything to anyone. It is on record in that lecture at Chatham House they asked him a question relating to expectations and what he specifically would do in relation to certain documents that were flying around committing him to this thing or that thing within 100 days. “In that lecture- the video is already now viral on the web- he (Buhari) said ‘it contained falsehood and I am not going to be engaged in deceit. I will go in there, I will see what is there and get the intelligence – the knowledge of things that are going on- and I will fully commit myself to serving Nigeria,” he said. But the recent drama on the floor of the senate has given the major opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party, the basis to accuse the APC of been dubious.

According to the leadership of the PDP, the APC senators are been hypocritical and acting a script of the party by rejecting the N5,000 monthly stipend, which they promised unemployed Nigerians. The PDP further said it was a monumental deceit on the part of the APC Senators for taking such a step. “It underscores the monumental hypocrisy of their party in getting to power by means of deceit and false promises to Nigerians”. In a statement Thursday by PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, the PDP noted that the development “is a clear confirmation of the fact that the APC is a party of hypocrites, who never had the intention of honouring any of their campaign promises.

The PDP declares that it is absolutely obvious to all that the APC came to power riding on monumental lies and deceit in making promises they had no intentions to keep. All they wanted was to get into power and they achieved this with their lying tongues. Indeed, the unanimity displayed by the APC senators in rejecting the promised N5, 000 monthly welfare package, especially coming after their party and the Presidency had made futile efforts to distance themselves from it, further stresses the duplicitous spirit of the APC and its reprehensible insensitivity to the feelings and aspirations of Nigerians, especially the unsuspecting youths, women and the indigent, who they shamelessly swindled with false promises.

“Finally, we invite Nigerians to note the powers amply vested in them by the constitution under a democracy as we urge them to stand on such powers and hold the APC and its government accountable for all their campaign promises.” In a swift reaction, the APC has come out to say the party is not ready to renege on its campaign promises.

The party in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said even though the PDP-led Federal Government plundered the common wealth in its time, the (APC) has devised creative means not only to pay the money but also to fulfil its other campaign promises to Nigerians. The party assured Nigerians that it will conform with its campaign promise to pay N5,000 each, monthly to 25 million most vulnerable Nigerians, while calling on the citizens to ignore the mischievous attempt by the PDP to confuse and mislead them on this issue.

It said the non-implementation of the payment policy so far, is due to the fact that it was not included in the 2015 budget, which was prepared by the PDP-led Jonathan administration, and also because of the need to first block all financial leakages. ''Now, the Buhari administration has been busy putting into place measures that will make it possible to start the implementation of this project. Such measures include the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).''

“We are happy to inform Nigerians that as at the end of September 2015, over N 1.4 trillion - which hitherto was lying unproductively in various commercial banks - has been recovered and paid into the TSA,'' APC said. The party said that in its usual jumpy and superficial approach to issues, the irresponsible opposition has already rushed to judgement on the issue without bothering to hear from the APC, which made the promise in the first instance.

''Had the PDP not sacrificed the truth on the altar of political expediency, it would have realised that the APC never at any time indicated it has reneged on its promise to pay N5,000 monthly to 25 million most vulnerable Nigerians. In our press statement of Aug. 30th 2015, we still reiterated our plan to redeem our campaign promises, including the social security payment policy, despite the primitive looting of the treasury under the watch of the PDP.

''It is therefore astonishing that the same PDP, which is becoming more and more infamous for its penchant for peddling half-truths and sensationalising every issue, will rush to the press to celebrate the figment of its imagination that the APC will not fulfil its campaign promise regarding the payment,'' it said.

The APC said the Buhari administration is also embarking on a massive infrastructure renewal programme in the areas of roads, rail and power, for which a $2.5-billion- Infrastructure Fund is being put in place. ''Contrary to the disinformation being peddled by the PDP, the Buhari administration is poised to lift millions of Nigerians out of extreme poverty by providing social protection and safety nets with another N2.5 trillion Special Intervention Fund,'' the party said.

As the accusation and counter-accusation from the two major political parties lingers, analysts are of the opinion that the issue is being politicised and demanded that the economy should not be a subject of politicking, while other observers denied the allegation of politicizing the matter, but argued that the reality on ground calls for this anxiety and therefore the need to fast tract the payment of the stipend. As analysts put it, it is obvious that the matter has been taken off the mark with some level of politics introduced. However, Nigerians are hopeful that the change they voted for will come, but as it is now, the change is yet to arrive analysts averred.

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