Editor’s note: The social welfare package promised by the
All Progressives Congress and Muhammadu Buhari during
the 2015 election seems to be ready for implementation
but is that what Nigerians need?
In this opinion, Shomoye Abiodun argues that although the
government’s intention might be good, the social welfare
package might fail to address the real issue that can save
The coming of Father Christmas
One of the unforgettable periods as a living human remains
my days as a primary school student. Definitely this
remarkable period isn’t the examination time, neither is it
pre-or-post examination period nor holiday period (I know
you’re wondering when it is). While it was fun to me, to
some of my school mates then, this period is usually the
scariest days in their lives, a period when parents are seen
as “rebels”, you know why?! This is the period parents will
willingly hand over their wards to a “masquerade” with big
belly but lots of give away at disposal.
What we as infants saw as a masquerade back then is a
generous mankind (with profit at his back of mind)
generally known as father Christmas who only show up
during the Christmas season to put smile on the faces of
people but not as his/her detriment because you must pay
before you enter.
READ ALSO: Buhari government to make sure poor people
I sincerely doubt if there is still much celebration of Father
Christmas in today’s Nigeria compare to what I experienced
in the mid-2000. Mid 2000 to present day is more than a
decade and I ask; was my remembrance of Father
Christmas after 10 years a natural occurrence? Absolutely,
No! Something must trigger an action, APC’s social welfare
package actually triggered my remembrance of Father
Christmas, the smart prodigal son.
The problems APC inherited
Sincerely, I think it is time for us to be truthful to ourselves,
the fact that APC inherited a well planted disaster should
not be subjected to further arguments, what we should be
arguing on is; how APC won’t add more salts to the wound.
The Nigeria that was handed over to APC was a sick one
that requires serious medical, psychological and in fact
metaphysical approaches to cure. With the decisions so far,
especially the social welfare package, from my perspective,
APC seems to be suggesting subsiding drugs (whose after
effect might add more to our problems) to our country’s
illnesses and not the much needed cure.
One of the sadly numerous illnesses Nigeria is seriously
battling with currently is mass unemployment which
painfully leaves no age bracket behind. This definitely must
be top priority of any sensible and rational government.
Happily APC looks sensible but to what extent are they?
READ ALSO: Buhari a failed messiah or a one chance
The idea of the social welfare package looks like a profligate
decision from the government to the masses. Federal
government is simply saying; “ dear masses, there is a five
hundred billion naira we are not using, accept our kind
gesture and register for your share ”. Apparently, Nigeria is
now like the big bellied Father Christmas but something
differentiates them; Nigeria’s belly is filled with challenges
that needs funds to solve and can’t afford to spend without
calculation. Though, Nigeria is currently on the mission to
begin her own “giveaway” but she seems to have forgotten
Father Christmas never did his own giveaway at his
The good and bad idea
The social welfare package patent belongs to APC, a good
idea to some populace but before we celebrate this
approach beyond rational reasoning, let me ask; have we
forgotten Nigeria runs a democratic system? Have we also
forgotten APC won’t be there forever? What will then
happen if a new political party takes over the space and
decides to say no to social welfare package?
Pathetically, at the moment, the best relieving approach to
unemployment from APC is social welfare package and I
sincerely doubt if the party really studied the causes of
mass unemployment in the land before taking such
Paleolithic decision. The social welfare currently targets
majorly the extremely poor Nigerians, a study population
no agency can give a close to accurate statistics about. I
actually hope when the disbursement starts, the already
wealthy Nigerians in position of power won’t hijack it. Be as
it may, the fact that APC saw no reason to invest such huge
amount in making agriculture or other sector attractive
shows how outdated the ruling party is. A forward looking
government would never have preferred giving her
populace fishes to eat ahead of cleaning the ocean to
enable the populace fish for themselves. Unfortunately, our
ruling party is running on the outdated version of socialism
software, hence they must embrace Fayose’s stomach
infrastructure. The only difference is; president Buhari can’t
cover Nigeria to share food items and to substitute that is
disbursement of cash equivalent, what a pity for my dear
Below is my presumed excerpt of conversation between
APC decision maker and an out of school Nigerian kid:
APC: hey kid, why are you not in school?
Kid: I haven’t eaten, no books, no chairs and tables and the
school is leaking.
APC: Don’t worry, we will give you free food in schools, now
you can go to school.
From the conversation above, APC addressed the food
aspect but left out the much needed infrastructure to make
learning conducive and attractive to students. Kaduna state
government being an APC led state, has launched her own
free meal program in public schools and it has become a
mockery as students are said to be returning back to their
homes after taking the free meal. Now that Federal APC is
yet to fully implement the free meal package, I hope steps
will be taking to avoid “eat and go home”. In an approach to
avoid that, Federal government should equip schools with
latest textbooks, rehabilitate dilapidated schools and if
possible provide media learning approach, even if it will be
at the detriment of free meal package.
Governing is not a rocket science, if APC really wants the
party’s era to be written in the book of positive history, I
advise the party to focus mainly on establishing structures
and institutions. Structures and institutions lasts, appointing
500,000 teachers without structures and institutions to
accommodate them will later amount to underutilization of
labors which we can directly understand its effect if we take
a vivid look at our local government secretariats and
ministries. God bless Nigeria!!!
This opinion was written by Shomoye Abiodun
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Editor’s note: The social welfare package promised by the