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National Assembly Standoff: CHRICED commends Keyamo

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Maureen Okpe

The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) following the diverse narratives surrounding the standoff between the National Assembly and the Honourable Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN),CHRICED lauds the Minister for standing up for the ordinary citizens.

This is coming as Keyamo challenged the National Assembly on the rotten status quo built on nepotism, favoritism, and cronyism. And by firing a warning that he is willing to leave the position than engage in shady deals, which would short-change the ordinary Nigerian, the Hon. Minister has blazed a trail, which many other government officials should follow.

The bone of contention has been the modality for the selection of candidates for the 1000 jobs per Local Government Area (LGA), which translates to 774,000 jobs across the country announced earlier.

While maintaining the position as canvassed in previous interventions that the Federal Government should adopt a more sustainable approach to achieve the goal of eradicating unemployment, The civil group states that,for too long,
many of the failed politicians in the National Assembly who are unable to effectively represent their constituencies have made it their birth right to hijack the few opportunities created through government run employment programmes.

In a statement signed by the Executive Director Dr. Zikirullahi M. Ibrahim stated,the corruption-prone approach, driven by the urge to compensate godfathers, friends and political cronies, has resulted in the distortion of the objectives of such government employment and empowerment schemes.

“Despite the apparent corruption in their discredited methods, many members of the National Assembly insist on getting slots for employment in government agencies or whenever empowerment schemes are being designed.

“They then distribute these slots to friends, cronies and political hangers on, while short-changing the ordinary people who have no political connections.

“Limiting opportunities to only those who know, pledge political allegiance or have connections to federal lawmakers, which is unjust, unfair and creates grievances, which would in turn fuel political violence.

Speaking further Dr. Ibrahim said It is disheartening that apart from appropriating a huge chunk of national resources as annual budget for themselves, members of the National Assembly would stop at nothing to grab opportunities meant for ordinary citizens.

Part of their anger against Keyamo stems from the effort made by the Minister to remind these legislators that the country does not belong to them alone.

“Keyamo deserves commendation and support from well meaning Nigerians for courageously standing up to members of the National Assembly, who in effect tried to intimidate him to cede control of the programme to them.

According to the Director principled public servants like Festus Keyamo are the kind of people we need in government.

As Nigeria desperately needs public servants who will not roll over at the slightest pressure, but those who have conviction and are willing to defy the odds to advance the ideals of justice, equity and fairness. By insisting that all Nigerians, irrespective of partisan affiliation should be given equal opportunity to apply for the jobs.

CHRICED is of the view that if we have a few more strong and principled officials like the Minister of State, the policies and programmes of government will have a better effect on long suffering citizens at the grassroots.

one of the key lessons all Nigerians should learn has to do with electing credible, principled and compassionate leaders, who would care about all citizens irrespective of partisan, sectarian or primordial consideration.

“It is trite fact that a significant number of the so-called lawmakers in the National Assembly are there to represent their personal interest, as such have no iota of empathy for the ordinary citizen suffocating under the burden of bad governance, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

Citizens also have a responsibility to support the likes of Keyamo in this daunting task of speaking the truth to corrupt power,” he said

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