By Bala Ibrahim
Two clichés are making the waves in the social media. I have seen a video clip of one, but haven’t watched the other. The first, and the one I saw, was an interactive session, presumably at the House of Representatives, where an official of a Federal Government Agency, answered to the employment of 811 people from Anambra state, but only 1 from Kano state. The other one has to do with the disbursement of palliatives.
The central actors in the two issues are ladies of different religions, I think, but certainly from the two divides of Nigeria. If the episodes are true, then the two deserve the highest opprobrium or unquantified vilification, because of their insensitivity.
Let me start with the clip I watched on the Social media, which I hope is fake.
The clip was short, so I didn’t see enough to permit any reasonable judgement, knowing very well the havoc that can be wrecked on any material, through devilish and cruel editing. I was an editor, so I know the ills of unfair editing.
However, I saw the lady admitting, and shamelessly making efforts to justify the heinous crime. It’s an atrocious violation of the principles of equity, and an affront to the meaning and mission of the stanza that deals with unity in the National anthem of our country.
For a country that went to war in order to prove the importance of unity and demolish the wicked concept of nepotism, to be practicing favoritism in the open, by brazenly giving unfair preferential treatment to one section of the country at the expense of another, means the purpose of democracy is woefully defeated.
Kano and Anambra are states in Nigeria, with equal status, equal standing and equal stature, as entrenched in the constitution. According to the 2006 population census figures, Kano State had a population of 9,401,288 million people. By todays estimate, those figures have almost doubled. The people of Kano are predominantly Hausa. By the same census, Anambra state had a population of 4,177,828 million people, 98% of whom are Ibo.
Officially, Kano State is the most populous state in Nigeria, with Islam as the dominant religion. Anambra’s population must have equally gone up today, but not any near that of Kano. Christianity is the dominant religion in Anambra.
It is important to look at the principle of The Federal Character, which has been enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution since 1979, and the aim is to ensure that appointments to public service institutions fairly reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity of Nigeria.
There is also the quota system and the catchment areas policies, that were formulated to bridge the gap between the educationally developed states and the educationally less developed states.
Both the federal character and the quota system were enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria with the object of ensuring equitable distributions of bureaucratic and political roles in the public service at the Federal, States and Local Government levels.
Have all these provisions been expunged from the constitution, or are some people simply trying to push the country into an anarchy?
The other cliche, which I haven’t watched, so I cant vouch for its authenticity, was reportedly aired on Channels TV, and I quote, “Those who benefited from the N20,000 shared to the poor because of COVID-19 don’t want to be addressed as poor people; that is why we can’t publish their names”. -Maryam Uwais, SA to PMB on Social Investment programe.
If indeed Maryam Uwais said so, then she should be ashamed of her herself, because her statement conflicts with the mission and vision statements of the National Social Investment Programe of Nigeria, to which she is a founding member.
According to Wikipedia, the social welfare initiative was created by the Federal government of Nigeria in 2015, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and the direction of the National Social Investment Office. The Programe was created to ensure a more equitable distribution of resources to vulnerable populations, including children, youth, and women.
The office has created four programs to address poverty and help increase economic development. The N-Power program provides young Nigerians with job training and education, as well as a monthly stipend of 30,000 Nigerian naira. The Conditional cash transfer program directly supports the most vulnerable by providing no-strings-attached cash to those in the lowest income group, helping reduce poverty, improve nutrition and self-sustainability, and supporting development through increased consumption.
The Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP) is a micro-lending investment programe targeting entrepreneurs with a focus on young people and women. This programe provides no-cost loans to its beneficiaries, helping reduce the start-up costs of business ventures in Nigeria.
Finally, the Home Grown School Feeding Program (HGSF) is the one way the government is attempting to increase school enrollment by providing meals to schoolchildren, particularly those in poor and food-insecure regions. The programe works with local farmers and empowers women as cooks, building the community and sustaining economic growth from farm to table.
It would be a sham for anyone to say beneficiaries of such laudable initiatives would be shamed, because they dont want their names made public. Big lie, but I hope it also turns out to be fake news, from those with the bring down syndrome.
The whole thing is too crude to be true. So I don’t want to believe it.