President Muhammadu Buhari made quite a few sensational promises during his 2015 electoral campaign. Most of them have been proved to be unrealistic. His promised to pay five thousand naira monthly to unemployed adult Nigerians. This seems to have come back to haunt him, even recruiting an advocate in his household in the person of his wife Aisha Buhari.
It was a sensational promise and proved that despite Buhari being a former Nigerian dictator, despite having already run for president thrice before the final attempt, he was not yet a blunder-proof politician. He had been out there committing himself to monstrous fiscal responsibilities without knowledge of what was in the coffers. It was courageous and terribly careless and well informed Nigerians sensed this but it was his moment. The tidal wave that was sweeping Jonathan out of office was unstoppable.
The days of blissful ignorance are now over. The coalition which crushed Jonathan has since scattered. The common enemy has been despatched. The emotions aroused by the scramble for the spoils of war has since divided the ruling party while the challenges facing the country have become fiercer. Boko Haram is not leaving by December. The Naira is not appreciating, atleast nowhere near what Sai Baba promised. Biafran discontent is rumbling even in the Niger Delta. The economy seems to have lost direction.
On June 14, VP Yemi Osinbajo revealed that there were ongoing plans to implement Buhari’s campaign promise to pay N5000 each to the poorest Nigerians across the country. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria noted that government is “currently evaluating the best ways to collapse existing cash transfer and social welfare schemes to ensure consistency and alignment. Once this is completed, we will implement the first phase of this program, using recognized identification platforms and transparent payment solutions”. Osinbajo disclosed this at the 10th Year Anniversary Lecture of Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State aptly titled, ‘The Nigerian Economy and the Future’.
On November 4, the Senate rejected a motion for the payment of N5, 000 monthly allowance to unemployed youths in the country.The motion was somewhat cheekily sponsored by Philip Aduda (PDP, FCT) and was greeted with shouts of “no, no” when he tried to explain it. Attempts by the Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, to second the motion were disrupted by the rowdiness. Intervening, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, posed the question but the senators responded along party lines. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators yelled ‘’aye’’ in favour of the motion while All Progressives Congress (APC) senators, who were in majority, rejected
In his subsequent remarks, Mr. Saraki urged the senators to take the issue of unemployment very seriously and not play politics with it.“We should stay above party line on this issue that is so important. We have seen growth in the last years but this has not translated to employment.Government alone cannot do it; the private sector has a role to play and the enabling environment must be created,” he said. PDP leaders have lately called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling APC to fulfil their campaign promise of paying N5, 000 to unemployed Nigerian youth.The motion was probably part of that call.
On November 6 the APC reacted and assured Nigerians that it would not renege on its campaign promise to pay 5,000 Naira each monthly to 25 million most vulnerable Nigerians.The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, called on the citizens to ignore what it called a mischievous attempt by the PDP to confuse and mislead them on this issue. A group, South East Progressives Assembly did not believe him. They issued a press statement, soon enough.
“The South East Progressives Assembly(SEPA) wishes to convey its intention to challenge the non-payment of the monthly Five Thousand Naira (N5000) stipend promised to unemployed Nigerian youths by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari during the campaigns.
“Our decision to explore legal option on this very particular issue is largely hinged on the overriding fact that APC’s manifesto which contains some of its campaign promises and that of President Buhari undoubtedly remains the real bond between Nigerians and the government of the day.
“President Buhari presented himself to Nigerians as a man of great reputation, sincerity and truth. He promised Change as well as certain programmes and policies that shall drive the expected Change policy. This among others include the monthly payment of 5000 Naira stipend to unemployed Nigerian youths.
“The growing tradition of denying campaign promises, proclamation of Nigeria as a broke and most corrupt nation by Mr. President while in foreign countries, propounding excuses on alleged failures of the immediate past government, inability to define policies and direction, alleged refusal to continue some of the lofty programmes and projects inherited from the past administration, perceived selective fight against corruption, alleged political vendetta against perceived political opponents, exclusion of the south east and south south zones from the inner cabinet of the executive and perceived sectionalism judging by the actions and body language of Mr President, have largely cast serious doubt on the sincerity, uprightness, truthfulness and overall reputation of President Buhari.”
One may conclude that these so called progressives from the South East are hardly supporters of Buhari but one can not reach such conclusions about the wife of the Nigerian President, Aisha Buhari who recently urged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of which President Buhari is numero uno not to go back on its campaign promises. Mrs. Buhari’s intervention is sensational to say the least. Did she not buy her husband’s claim that Nigeria is broke?
In a statement by her Special Assistant on Media, Adebisi Olumide-Ajayi, on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 Mrs Buhari appealed to the APC not to go back on its campaign promises of paying 5,000 Naira to 25 million unemployed Nigerians and giving school children one free meal a day.The reminder from the wife of the President came after Senators from the APC voted against a motion moved by the opposition, calling on the Presidency to pay the 5,000 Naira allowance, as promised. Did the APC senators act contrary to Buhari’s wish as well? Does it not seem as if Lai Mohamed and Aisha Buhari are on the same page? Are they not following Buhari’s instruction?
Mrs Buhari also reminded the APC that it was a party of integrity and had assured Nigerians during the campaign that it would pay 5,000 Naira each month to 25 million most vulnerable citizens. Good grief! Should Mrs. Buhari not be grateful to the APC dominated senate for rescuing her husband from the pit he dug for himself? Five thousand naira to twenty five million unemployed? That is N1.25 Trillion monthly. Where would Buhari find that kind of money every month? MTN? This is incredible. Perhaps the president does not wish to be rescued.