Let it go round, please
There is a political angle to everything in Nigeria. People read political meaning in every activity of government. Perhaps, this is because, over the years government has not been transparent. Even in religious circles nowadays, people see political undertone in activities of clerics. The sharing of the Federal Government palliatives through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, under Sadiya Umar Farouq, has so far been enmeshed in controversy.
The Federal Government had, last week, started to make provision for the vulnerable in the society, disbursing N20,000 Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) payments of four months to the beneficiaries.
The disbursement, which kicked off in Kwali Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory and some parts of Nassarawa State, was to serve as a palliative to help ease the untold hardship, which the lockdown has imposed on the vulnerable.
Farouq reportedly claimed that over 2.6million households have so far benefited from the palliative and that over 11 million vulnerable persons have been identified in 35 states yet to benefit from the palliative measure.
Many people are wondering what criteria were employed to arrive at the conclusion that the poorest of the poor were domiciled in Nasarawa, for instance. Some videos of the exercise making the rounds on the social media show that some of the beneficiaries cannot be said to belong to the category being described as the poorest of the poor, as they look chubby and well-fed.
Food-sharing has always been a serious issue even in bible days. The decision of the Apostles in the Acts of the Apostles to choose Seven Deacons was as a result of complaint of neglect by certain of the Apostles that their own people were not being reached during food-sharing. It was clearly to address a concern raised by Greek-speaking believers about their widows being overlooked in daily ministry.
In Nigeria where politics is played with everything, fears are that those distributing the money would likely go partisan just as it happened with the trader-moni and other empowerment packages rolled out by the Federal Government during the electioneering campaign preceding the 2019 general election.
Already, rumours are rife that the distribution pattern so far is pointing to that same faulty pattern of distribution.
Those saddled with the responsibility of distributing the current stimulus packages must be sensitive enough over the perception of government in this regard, and then do the right thing. Government must not be selective in the sharing of the largesse at a time when political meanings are being read over the pattern of donations toward combating the coronavirus scourge.
Certain elements are already saying that greater percentage of the financial donations came from a certain part of the country that unfortunately always being neglected by government when it comes to the distribution of goodies meant for all the geo-political zones in the country.
Rightly or wrongly, such thinking which is trending on the social media platforms could find a fertile ground on some people’s mind, and then they would take critical interest in the current sharing of the N20,000 largesse.
Government should prove the purveyors of such propaganda wrong by being plain with the business of distribution of the current relief materials. Why not try locating a sleepy village in one of the South East states, for instance, and move the sharing there immediately. What government does now or fails to do will join its other activities in the History book of Nigeria. I wish somebody will “listen”.