I recall when one of the officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), came to our NYSC-CDS, to educate us on the consequences of drug abuse and related things which surround drug usage. He would later ask us to join NDLEA’s CDS group. Soon as he was through, he asked us to write our questions on a sheet of paper which most of us did. Some of us asked questions on drug abuse while others asked questions on life after service. “Sir, the NDLEA’s CDS group you said we should join, are we going to be employed by NDLEA after our service year?” a corper asked. Everyone of us applauded.
The officer who was in his NDLEA’s red jacket first sipped from the bottled water he held before he answered the question: “You just asked a very good question and I must tell you the truth. Our lawmakers have hijacked the process. If NDLEA announces that it will employ 5,000 Nigerians, lawmakers will hijack 3,500 slots and leave the remaining 1,500 for commoners who do not have godfathers. That’s why all of you cannot be employed….”
So, I wasn’t surprised when the meeting between the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo and the Nigerian lawmakers ended in a face-off which made the lawmakers ask Festus Keyamo to take a bow and leave. Keyamo had earlier enlisted the Nigerians he deemed fit across states to be part of the Committees for the Special Public Works Programme – designed to absorb 774,000 unemployed Nigerians. He was asked to brief them on the process, which he did. Later, they accused him for not privately submitting the programme to them for vetting before taking the step he took. The lawmakers also insisted that they had to have an input in the process. Festus Keyamo claimed that their requests were unconstitutional.
My questions are: Why did the lawmakers insist that they must have an input in the implementation of the programme? Why did the lawmakers accuse him of not submitting the programme on their table before he went ahead with the process? These questions can be answered in two words – corruption and nepotism. I watched Festus Keyamo in a viral video asking the lawmakers: “How can you expose corruption without cameras?” Why are the lawmakers questioning him over the process if they do not want to manipulate the programme to suit themselves?
However, Nigerian lawmakers shouldn’t forget that the world is watching. Not less than 48 hours the ongoing N-Power recruitment portal was opened, an online news medium, SaharaReporters, gathered that the Ministry of Humanitarians Affairs and Disaster Management had dole out 50,000 slots to Nigerian lawmakers. Unfortunately, this is not good for a country that is pronounced corrupt all over the world. Nigerian lawmakers should focus on their constitutional duties and allow other governmental bodies to discharge theirs without being distracted.
–––Aremu Lukman Umor,