In June this year, the Buhari Administration declared that there were ongoing plans to implement one of its striking campaign promises that it will pay N5000 each to the poorest Nigerians and unemployed youths across the country. This was one of the striking promises made during the campaign as it has been established that about 112 million (66% of Nigerians) are deemed extremely poor, measured by World Bank parameter of those living on less than US$1.25 per day.
However, in a radical shift on Wednesday, the senators representing the APC rejected the proposal. Several Nigerian youths took to the media to express their grievance against what they perceived as insensitivity and unfulfilled promises on the part of the president while also labelling the senators as being greedy.
But the question is: is this 5000 payment a solution to massive youth unemployment in Nigeria? Is it hard for this government to create jobs and infrastructure for her teeming populace? Would the 5000 reduce crime on our streets, stop internet frauds by youths, wipe off advance fee fraud, kidnapping and so many other evil vices off the streets?
The reaction of Nigerian youth is that they need employment and not bribe money. A cross section of youths feel that the government is only trying to bribe them. And that even if the N5000 is approved, it will not be paid to the recipients as at when due, it will end up in the bank account of some government officials.
Even if this is a form of unemployment benefits like in other advanced countries, it is a pity that Nigeria may not be disciplined enough to embark on such a program due to corruption.
While it is very unfortunate that the same APC that campaigned with this #5000 for the unemployed youths are now kicking against it. It looks like APC stole the votes of the unemployed youths in Nigeria.
The truth of the matter is that the money can never solve the problem of unemployment in Nigeria. Pray, what is 5000 naira in today’s economy especially with talks about the devaluation of the naira. How far can it go to solve a man’s problem?
This is just like giving bread to an hungry dog for temporary relief. It would be better if effort is channelled towards empowering an average Nigerian youth and to create business friendly policies that will encourage more youth participation in business.
This payment is not what Nigeria needs right now. Some feelers even think it will encourage laxity and reduce pro-activeness among the youth.
We should watch the President (PMB) on this issue however, to see his body language and know if he can pay this #5000 without the Constitution and whether he will disappoint the unemployed youths in Nigeria who he promised during his campaigns.