Should Nigeria’s youth be excited about the N5,000 stipend?

On Wednesday, the 4th of November, Philip Aduda, the senator for the Federal Capital Territory and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) sponsored a motion for the payment of N5,000 monthly allowance to the unemployed youths in Nigeria. According to news sources, as he tried to explain the motion, his voice was drowned by yelling from senators who disagreed. Allegedly, the noisiness prevented the minority leader, Godswill Akpabio from supporting the motion. It is however interesting to note that while PDP members were in favour of the motion, All Progressives Congress (APC)senators, who were in the majority were not in support.

APC’s rejection of the said motion received a lot of backlash from the opposition party PDP and the public through social media because during President Buhari’s presidential campaign earlier in the year, he promised to pay N5,000 to 25 million unemployed youths in the country.  However, the APC seemed to have reversed its stance as they assured Nigerians that their promise of the monthly stipend will still be fulfilled. In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, APC claimed that the public should ignore what was termed ‘a mischievous attempt’ by PDP to mislead them.

With so much clatter over the proposed stipend, it is important to understand the implications of the stipend. Will it ease the youths needs and reduce crime rates or did APC promise the stipend while campaigning with no intention of fulfilling it? While Nigerian youths have taken to the social media to express their thoughts on the matter, Mr. Ademulegun Olowojoba, a recruitment consultant and social entrepreneur shares his views on the N5, 000 controversy.

Should the youth be excited about N5, 000?

Coming from the point of zero support, I’d say that N5,000 is a welcome development. It is important to note that as corps members, they were working, some as teachers, some in the local governments, so their allowance was more or less a salary. However, this 5,000, although small is not worked for, it’s free. The stipend will definitely contribute to their job search. It will enable them buy data to apply for jobs and get some trainings on the internet.

Will the stipend make people complacent?

I want to believe that our universities are churning out graduates that will not think that N5, 000 is enough to rely on monthly. While I am not ruling out the fact that there are some people who might get comfortable with that amount, majority will just keep that till they get a job that will pay them more.

Will the rural youth benefit from this?

If the Federal Government is truly ready to implement this policy, then, one doesn’t have to fear it not reaching the rural youths. During the elections, INEC ensured that they had polling units and voting materials in each local governments. Note that in each local government, every ward and street is recorded, so if they are really serious about giving stipends, why will they not be able to reach these people?

On APC’s initial rejection

There are two sides to this. First, one has to question if the whole stipend thing is just a campaign strategy, maybe APC just wanted to canvass for votes and nothing more. Also, I doubt the credibility of the stipend promise. There has been talks about Nigeria being in debt and how the past administration left the treasury dry, so how do they intend to kick start and sustain this kind of policy? Bearing in mind that the President still has a lot of pressing issues to deal with.

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