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The N46b Job Swindle: Why Nigeria Won’t Develop

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By Dele Sobowale

“I have said it openly; what do they need more than that? They want to control the programme and I said no, except the President says I should leave it…” F. Keyamo, SAN, Minister of State for Labour, Employment, June 30, 2020.

Mr. Keyamo made that declaration shortly after he was thrown out of the chambers of the National Assembly for demonstrating bad manners. Readers must want to know what caused all the palaver.

It was akin to disagreement among thieves regarding how to share the loot. We now understand why the first five years of the Buhari administration had passed like a procession of mourners; and why the next three years leave patriotic Nigerians stricken with gloom.

Any projections for 2020 to May 29, 2023 must be one of helplessness and despair. Nigerians have landed in an official one-chance bus called APC Transport Service. Buhari’s vaunted integrity had been sorely eroded to vanishing point by the people he had appointed to office. The President of Nigeria probably never heard the admonition “Show me your friends; and I will tell you who you are.” Please meet Mr. President’s friends and weep for Nigeria.

“Oh! What a tangled web we weave/When first we practise to deceive.”

Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832.  VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, p35.

 Keyamo asked: “what do they need more than that?” He thereby angrily and  deceptively revealed only part of a sordid secret which should make Buhari feel embarrassed by the political slum dwellers with who, he is now associated as the leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The Minister had announced to media people that members of the NASS had been granted 15 per cent of the dubious 774,000 jobs which the FG proposed to create in all Local Governments. Actually, the job offer is a swindle unworthy of any government except one embarking on destructive CHANGE.

Actually, the job offer is a swindle unworthy of any government except one embarking on destructive CHANGE.

 First, Keyamo told Nigerians that 116,100 jobs which should have been offered to the truly needy had been parcelled out to the NASS. Each NASS member would command approximately 232 jobs. Like the good lawyer that he is Keyamo failed to disclose the percentage allocated to the Executive branch, especially the Katsina nephews of Buhari now permanently resident at Aso Rock. It is a safe bet that the Executive branch members will not receive less than the lawmakers. So, at least 30 per cent of jobs advertised as help for the masses have already been shared among APC’s  over-fed leaders in Abuja. But, that is not all.

 Second, information available to us, and not refuted, has already pointed to how the jobs meant for the states will be shared. In one state which serves as the example in this regard, the daughter of a Leader of the APC, as well as his “Chief Stalwart”, are on the list of those charged with allocating the jobs in the State.

Obviously, one requires no rocket science intelligence to know where the bullion van conveying the money to pay those hired would be parked. A glance through the list of names for other states would lead to only one logical conclusion. This is purely something for party members; and job creation was never the intention. The millions of poor job seekers are merely being used as cover to raid the public purse. Here is why.

“It was beautiful and simple; as all truly great swindles are.”

O. Henry, 1862-1910, VBQ, P 239.

 What the public was told was less than half the true story. The omissions were deliberate. As told, 774,000 people will be employed by the FG for three months in all the 774 LGs of Nigeria.

Each of them will receive N20,000 per month for engaging in tasks that are yet to be precisely defined. Mr Keyamo and the APC relied on the fact that most Nigerians – mostly fools — are too mentally lazy to undertake the simple arithmetical exercise to determine how much of our lean financial resources was intended to be spent on this questionable and deceptive programme.

That is why Nigeria has watch dogs like me. Buhari’s government actually plans to spend N46.4 billion on this swindle in just three months.

 For those still too slow to understand why this project makes no sense and was never intended to be sensible, a few comparisons are necessary. For that amount, N46.4bn, the FG could have completed the Kara- Julius Berger end of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and provide permanent relief to the millions of people plying that road everyday.

On the other hand, N1 billion given to each of the Federal Universities to upgrade their facilities, especially science laboratories, would have served generations of university students and faculty and Nigeria better. A third option would have been to spend N7 billion on Teaching Hospitals in the six zones of Nigeria and make one unit in each world class.

That would have saved our country billions of dollars spent on Health Tourism each year while also improving the overall quality of health care nationwide. All such viable options were rejected in favour of this scam called job creation.  Why?

“A mob is a number of human beings acting without brains.”

 That is my latest definition of the term “mob” after watching closely how Nigerian politicians, irrespective of political party, spend our inadequate resources on wasteful programmes. And the 774,000 job idea is as profligate as any we have known; and just as potentially fraudulent.

 In the exchange between Keyamo and the NASS (One member of the House, Mr Kalu, with some justification, accused the Minister of gangsterism), nobody asked the most obvious question. Should Nigeria spend N46.4bn on creating jobs that will last only three months?

I learnt one important lesson during my MBA programme in Boston (1968-70). It makes no sense to do diligently what should not be done at all.

I learnt one important lesson during my MBA programme in Boston (1968-70). It makes no sense to do diligently what should not be done at all. Obviously, nobody in the Federal Executive Council, FEC, the Ministry or the NASS had enough sense to ask if this is the best way to spend N46.4bn given all the competing demands for those funds.

The disagreement Nigerians should be hearing or reading about should have been between those for and those against this absurd proposal – if only we have patriotic leaders. Like mobs everywhere, they speak no human language with respect to this atrocious plan to waste our poor economic resources. Again, let me explain,

 First, the Peoples Democratic Party had used the same trick to defraud Nigeria in 1999 when Obasanjo created the Poverty Alleviation Programme, PAP, at a cost of N10bn or $56 million. Till today nobody knows what happened to the money. Certainly, no permanent jobs were created. Keyamo’s suspicious scheme will gulp N46.4bn or $116 million; and it is still not going to lead to permanent employment for the “lucky” 774,000.

 Second, what sort of career does anybody make out of a three-month employment? Most of the applicants would have been jobless for over five years. Suddenly, a cynical and heartless set of politicians get them engaged for three months; use their employment for party and personal propaganda; then dump them back on the streets.  This is simply a Satanic waste of funds.

LAST LINE.

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