The Ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) Senators in the Upper Chamber of the Nigerian National Assembly today in what appears shocking to many voted against a motion for the payment of N5, 000 monthly allowance to unemployed youths in the country.
This particular motion was one major manifesto the party used to sell itself to the Nigerian populace during campaigns. The party had promised to give a minimum of N5000 per month stipend to the unemployed as well as give free lunch to students at the primary and secondary school levels.
It was therefore a drama on the floor of the Senate when Senator Philip Aduda, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing the Federal Capital Territory moved the motion for the stipends to be paid to unemployed youths but was greeted with shouts of “no, no” particularly from the APC camp. He was shouted down when he attempted to explain it. Attempts by the Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, to second the motion were disrupted by the rowdiness.
Intervening, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, posed the question but the senators responded along party lines. While Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members yelled ‘’aye’’ in favour of the motion, All Progressives Congress (APC) senators, who were in majority, rejected it.
However, a motion calling for the probe of the utilisation of Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) funds by the immediate past administration was adopted by the senators. The sponsor of the motion, Babajide Omoworare, prayed that every naira spent by the past government on SURE-P and other poverty alleviation programmes should be accounted for.
When the Senate President put the question, it was supported with a loud “aye” from the APC wing of the chamber, with no dissenting voice from the PDP side. In his remarks, Saraki urged the senators to take the issue of unemployment very seriously and not play politics with it. “We should stay above party line on this issue that is so important. We have seen growth in the last years but this has not translated to employment. Government alone cannot do it; the private sector has a role to play and the enabling environment must be created,” he said.