By Leonard Aluor
One of the Major planks of the economic direction of the Buhari led administration is alleviating the poverty of the teeming masses. It should be noted that one thing Buhari has going for him is his popularity amongst the talakawa in this country. There seem to be a magnetic aura that has glued the masses of this country since his foray into partisan politics in 2003 and his eventual emergence in 2015.There is no magic that has informed than the fact that all his life he(Buhari) has led a spartan life in spite of being privileged to have attained status that easily clamp him amongst the elite class in this country. He is a man who despite fate has thrust him to the echelon of public office in the country, he didn’t soil his hand with the till of such offices, he instead have always used those offices to embark on project that have direct bearing on the teeming masses. The people naturally will gravitate towards such a leader.
So when in 2015 through a contraption that saw to the collaboration of progressive elements from the north and the southwest, the leadership mantle of the country fell on the lap of this man of the people.Another opportunity presented itself for the masses to become central to government policies again in the country. President Buhari being a man of the people that he is, didn’t waste time in swinging into action on policies that will have direct bearing on the teeming majority and one of the strategies employed is National social investment programme(NSIP) comprising of Npower, school feeding programme, trader moni, conditional cash transfer (CCT) etc. Through this social investment programme(a feat unprecedented in the annals of this country) over a million household were pulled from the brinks of acute poverty and miseries throughout.
Buoyed by the feat of such ingenious intervention, the Buhari government in the bid to institionalize the social investment programme decided to create a ministry to coordinate such activities for more effectiveness and improved impact.
The lot to man such an all important office fell on no other person than the amiable amazon by the name Umar sadiya farooq. No one else could have been better placed to man such an office other than this honest and youthful amazon who typically embodies the true hallmark of Buharism which are honesty, transparency and integrity. Little wonder why in the face of provocative and frustrating smear campaign which reeks of yellow journalism by some fifth columnists in the Nigerian press, she has pressed on with candour and a zest only her mentor and father figure our indefatigable President Buhari possesses. Needless to say that prior to now that fate has been preparing her for this all important task. Before the advent of APC, she was the women leader of CPC one of the legacy party that came together to form APC. The elements that made up the then CPC were people who have indissoluble belief in the cause to salvage this country with Buhari as the rallying point. The CPC itself is a splinter group from the ANPP when it became apparent that the latter has being taken over by corrupt cash and carry Nigerian politician who the transparent aura of Buhari repels and are willing to do anything in the book to get him out of the way in their inordinate quest to retain the platform to further their nest of annexing this country for pillage. Those who kept faith with Buhari in the CPC worked tirelessly with little or nothing out of the passion to see this country pulled out of the woods which the rudderless leadership clamped on the country since 1999 was pulling her into. Sadiya Umar farooq was a shining star in the lot and it is the crucibles of transparency, integrity and passion for the people she acquires in those days of yore she has brought to bear in this all important aspect.
Her appointment couldn’t have come at a better time. She swung into action immediately after she was sworn in by visiting various epicentre of disasters delivering the goodwill messages of the FG and providing relief materials as a form of succour to those who have lost valuables to disaster. She also worked assiduously to remove various bottlenecks that has greeted the various NSIPs in the past and the programmes gained wider reach and had deeper impacts in the life of the people. Since the beginning of this pandemic, her job has been more cut out and she has warmed herself more brilliantly to them by overseeing the various interventions of the govt to the teeming viz the school feeding programme, palliatives and the conditional cash transfer. It must also be emphasised that those programmes has been executed in a more transparent and vigorous manner devoid of manipulations from politicians and their hangers on that has bedevilled the programme in the past. Just like many laudable programmes of this administration, the enemies of this country has planted so many malicious and mendacious stories in the press to impugn the integrity of the woman and make a mince meat of her yeoman’s effort while also smearing those laudable programme. But this wonderful amazon has remain undaunted in her single-minded quest to deliver her mandate of genuinely lifting the ordinary people from the miseries of penury.
In line with the policy of the Buhari administration to lift as many people as possible out of poverty. It also should be added that as important as that ministry is, just like the first term when the idea was conceived. It has been greeted by limited resources. Despite the assiduous effort of the umar sadiya farooq led humanitarian affairs ministry to reach as many homes with her as possible especially during the lock down occasioned by the pandemic. It is however sad that majority couldn’t benefit due to fact that the main target of the programmes abinitio were the vulnerables and poorest of the poor. This was naturally meant with bickerings and cynicism from some elites in the country. What many of them fail to realize that social and welfare programmes is a novel approach to governance in this country and it may not be as perfect as envisaged at the inception. It is however not wise to throw away the baby and the bath water because it is a work in progress. The Buhari administration came at a time that can be adjudged as the worst in terms of revenue generation. The previous government in this country were profligate spent thrift who had no presence of mind to save and invest for the rainy day but instead like the prodigal son squandered and pilfered the abundant resources of this country in the most rapacious manner. But the Buhari administration at her inception vows to clear the augean stable and reroute the nation on the path of progress. It is cheering to note that it is winning in this effort as the nation is a huge construction site in spite of her lean resources. With resourceful and integrity personified personae like Sadiya umar farooq manning various posts, this nation is poised for greater exploits in the future and laudable programmes like the NSIP that her ministry is coordinating will have wider impact.
Aluor wrote this piece from Television Nigerian, Abuja.