As part of its efforts to eradicate unemployment in the country, the federal government set up a program spear-headed by the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo. The program N-Power is meant to empower and provide youths with jobs in areas like agric, teaching, creative, health, technology and other vital aspect of life. While this is ongoing, the president also charged State Minister of Labour, Festus Keyamo with providing 774,000 job opportunities for the 774 local governments in Nigeria.
However, things took a different turn at a meeting Keyamo had with the lawmakers to discuss the processes and implementation of this project. Keyamo who was supposed to give details about the project to lawmakers at the meeting ended up being walked out of the meeting after series of arguments. In his speech to pressmen after the brouhaha, Keyamo accused the lawmakers of wanting to hijack the project from him, becoming privy to confidential information that is supposed to be known to him and his committee members alone and also going against the instructions of the president. He also asserted that he had assured them of a 10-15% cut from the job opportunities but they seemed not to be contented. All these allegations the lawmakers have denied, they said they were only carrying out their duties to know how the project will be executed and also ensure thorough supervision.
Engineer Debo Onifade while speaking on the online show Liberating Nigeria applauded Keyamo for being transparent and all inclusive about the project by lobbying religious leaders, transport workers, etc for the good of the country into the committee to ensure that everyone is well represented; a strategy he has always advocated. He lauded him for his openness about the project unlike the #2.3trillion sustainability plan of the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo which he had earlier criticized for being vague.
However, Engr. Onifade who strongly disapproves of the lawmakers hijacking the project from Keyamo also suggested that he could have had a more healthy discussion with the lawmakers without having to engage in a face-off with them. He said Keyamo could have devised a better way of reaching a truce with them.
He also praised him for being one of the new breed politicians who have realised the need to get inside the system to be able to cause a change. He said unlike other elites and activists who only bombard the public with vocabularies and endless discussion of problems without proffering solutions, Keyamo has taken the bull by the horn and is working to make things right from the inside. He added that if not for his call for transparency the job opportunities would have been exploited by the lawmakers as is the norm with no one to bring them to book.
In light of this, Onifade gave a thorough discourse on the National Consultative Front(NCF), a new political group formed by renowned lawyer, Femi Falana, Oby Ezekwesili, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olisa Agbakoba, Funke Awolowo, Shehu Sani, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’abba and other activists/elites.
According to him, it is a great movement, one that he has always anticipated but it seemed like things are not well with the group at its inception as some of its acclaimed member are saying they weren’t informed before the announcement was made so they are not part of the group.
He said as much as he has always clamoured for this in his books and his shows, there needs to be a strong support system for a group as such to stand. Such group with intents to cause progressive radical change in governance should not consist of elites or activists alone but should also have quite a number of practising politicians or people who have played politics and are still deeply rooted in the game to expose others to the tactics and style of operation as this will make the overtake easy.
He said if a group like that consists of elites alone, the goal will be very difficult to achieve if it ends up being achieved at all, he reiterated that elites need to understand the Nigerian Politics and this can only happen when they loosen up and learn from politicians.
He also asserted that there should be an umbrella group with a single trusted and reliable leader that covers other sub groups. These sub groups he says will focus on different aspects of governance, just as a forum like Liberating Nigeria is focused on educating first time voters and influencing them positively, there should be another platform that will focus on other things, all of which will then work together under one mother group with a leader that everyone respects and obeys.
Engr. Onifade rounded his talk on the show stating his stance on Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) endorsement of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination as Director General for World Trade Organization(WTO).
He described the move as selfish and inconsiderate of the person who had earlier been nominated for the position before he was withdrawn. According to him, Okonjo-Iweala is being fielded by the West to serve as compensation for Nigeria should Akinwunmi Adesina lose his bid for second term and he says it is not a good decision for Nigeria because it means the nation is imposing it’s candidate on the African Union even without its support. He says will only further cause rift for Nigeria in the AU seeing that we have not always enjoyed swift relationship with some countries in the AU.
In his opinion, Okonjo-Iweala is being over ambitious and should have turned down the nomination offer in the first instance considering the number of works she currently has at hand. He said should Okonjo-Iweala win the bid as Director-General, it could mean Adesina not winning his second term as President of the African development Bank (AFDB), he also expressed displeasure at the fact that the West is still largely influencing decisions and processes in Africa.
This article was written by Deborah Yusuf Oiza.