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HomeMetroSCAM ALERT! Keyamo's Poverty Generating Jobs and the Fight for the Poor

SCAM ALERT! Keyamo’s Poverty Generating Jobs and the Fight for the Poor

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These days I just like to face my front. I just watch boxing, listen to reggae music, watch Uncle Steve Harvey and Drew Binsky, play cards with my children, trim flowers, gossip on WhatsApp, and calculate when my money will finish since I have not worked for 4 months. I avoid the news. It’s all Edo and Covid out there. But I don’t live on fantasy Island, so I know that things are not well with my country.

No ruder reminder of this than the rofo-rofo between Festus Keyamo and the joint committee of the national assembly yesterday to jack me back to reality!

So, about what happened: in my opinion, the most important question should have been: “why do we want to employ 774,000 people and then pay them N20,000 monthly for only 3 months to clear gutters, control traffic, and then throw them back into the joblessness?” We are not even asking, “where are the gutters in most LGAs when there is no road,” “which traffic do you need 1000 young men to control, when some of the LGAs don’t have up to 1,000 cars”? We are also not asking, “where has this model worked before?” Economics is about models.

Those were not the questions that the honourable members were asking. But in fairness to them they asked him some very important questions:

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1. Why were 8 ministries involved in the process, yet it was his ministry that dominated everything, including, and especially, the recruitment? Where do the other ministries come in?

2. How do you intend to measure the success of the intervention? What are the key performance indicators? In other words, after spending about N50,000,000,000 on this project, how would you measure your success?

He provided no answers, then he became confrontational when the Chairman of the committee asked journalists to leave so they can have a closed door session with him. We all know that this procedure is not strange. The NASS always does this. Even the executive. Even in village meeting, there is a closed session. Going behind closed doors is a part of our democratic culture and socialization. It doesn’t mean that someone is trying to hide corruption.

Keyamo assumed that the NASS members wanted to hijack the process. Maybe it’s true, we don’t know. But you can clearly see that he was comfortable hijacking the process himself. He even said “15% of the slots had been reserved for NASS members so what else do they want,” trying to make them look like greedy crooks. Clearly, he was playing to the gallery.

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When Keyamo is negotiating with labour unions like JOHESU, NARD, TUC, ASUU, we all know that they go into an executive/closed session. Does it mean anyone is trying to hide corruption? Why was he suddenly averse to a closed session now? Even the weekly FEC meetings chaired by the President are closed to the public.

Three truths: Festus behaved like a badly brought up 5 year old yesterday. There was nothing distinguished about his comportment, his composure, his language. Second he was clearly playing to the gallery. He was keen on winning a popularity contest against the not-so-popular members of the national assembly. Maybe he misses the days when he was a defender of truth and right, and he wanted a feel of those days again. Maybe. But you can’t run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. Third truth, our government has still not found a solution to the poverty question. They are still throwing money at problems, happy that they have made an effort, not caring if the effort can yield fruit.

Finally, to give a fair warning: don’t let yourself be scammed by this 774,000 jobs business. It is a badly conceived gimmick by people who have no clue how poverty is reduced. Don’t let yourself be scammed by Festus’ theatrics. There is nothing righteous about his indignation. If my 4 year old daughter throws a tantrum like that, she will be grounded – no Disney Junior for one week. Don’t let yourself be scammed: the show he put up had nothing to do with protecting the liberties of 774,000 poor people from the ravenous appetite of selfish legislators.

Daniel Bott

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